Qorus Banking Innovation Awards 2023- Nominated

Trust Bank: Singapore’s first digitally-native bank

25/09/2023 Banking Innovation

About

Trust Bank is Singapore’s first digitally-native bank and has become the world’s fastest-growing digital bank, capturing 12% market share in Singapore within a year of launch. Trust has a bold ambition to become the 4th largest retail bank in Singapore by 2024, setting new benchmarks in customer experience and innovation.

Innovation presentation

Singapore’s established and competitive banking industry has been undergoing transformation driven by pervasive internet access, the rise of big data, and the growth of platform ecosystems. The pandemic has taught businesses, including banks, that becoming truly digital and adapting to evolving customer needs are crucial to long-term success.

Singapore also has ambitions to further strengthen its financial sector for the digital economy of the future.

It was under these conditions that Trust Bank Singapore (known as Trust), was born. Trust was publicly launched on 1 September 2022 as the first of Singapore’s digitally-native banks.

Backed by a unique partnership between Standard Chartered Bank and FairPrice Group, Trust brings together trusted and reliable banking foundations with an extensive consumer ecosystem that delivers more than 1 million customer experiences nationwide each day.

Its integration into the FairPrice ecosystem, along with a ground-breaking rewards and referral programme, helped Singaporeans of all ages maximise their savings on everyday spending. With these benefits coming at a time when consumers are facing increasing pressure on everyday costs due to rising global inflation, Trust has brought a new standard to digital banking experience for consumers, combined with best-in-market rewards on everyday living expenses at FairPrice Group’s extensive island-wide network to better address the needs of workers and their families.

Trust launched with a credit card, savings account and family personal accident insurance. Coming to market with three products and a well-developed loyalty rewards system is rare for a digital bank, where the standard approach is to launch with one product - typically a deposit-based product – and then expand at a later point. Delivering this was complex, but extensive user research indicated this would create a far more compelling proposition, particularly given the strong levels of competition in the market.

Uniqueness of the project

Trust was launched on 1 September 2022, with three distinct products tailored to meet the diverse needs of today's banking consumers. This was more complex to deliver, but was unique in market and very rare, setting Trust apart from other digital banks that typically offer only one product at launch. To further enhance customer experience, Trust is seamlessly integrated with the FairPrice Group ecosystem, offering Link Rewards, a market-leading rewards and loyalty programme.

From the beginning, Trust has innnovated and made regular innovations and improvements based on customer feedback to create a bank that they will love. From the initial three core products at launch a year ago, Trust has expanded this range to seven, to include a fully digital supplementary credit card (Supp Card), in-app travel insurance and a reimagined Personal Financial Management solution called Budget Buddies.

1. Savings Account

The Trust savings account offers customers a market-lending base rate of 1.5% per annum and a bonus interest of up to 1% per annum when users make 5 eligible purchases with their Trust card within a month. NTUC Union members will be able to enjoy a higher tier of savings and benefits from Trust. This competitive interest rate comes at a time when consumers are facing increasing pressure on everyday costs due to rising global inflation.

2. Credit Card

The Trust credit card is the first-to-market numberless credit card, providing customers with an additional safety feature that protects their credit cards against theft and fraud. The Trust credit card also enables customers to choose their repayment date and eliminates many fees including FX fees. The Trust card is also the first to offer dual functionality as a credit card and debit card, removing the need for users to carry multiple cards, and making it more convenient for customers.

3. Family Personal Accident Insurance

Trust included family personal accident insurance that was exclusively developed by Income Insurance Limited, a leading Singapore insurer, at a premium of only S$0.50 per month with coverage of up to S$8,000 for death and permanent total disability. This was available at no premium for the first two months at launch, upon sign-up of the Trust Credit Card. With no limit to the number of dependents covered, it offers unprecedented peace of mind to families at an affordable rate.

4. Supp Card

Trust reimagined the customer experience for supplementary credit cards, launching Singapore’s first fully digital supplementary credit card (Supp Card) in May. This fully digital journey and instant issuance to customers revolutionises paper-based applications, customer signatures and lengthy approval processes which have been the norm in the market.

The Trust Supp Card goes beyond innovating a seamless sign-up. Customers are able to see their transactions and rewards in real-time in their App and switch between their Trust Savings Account and Supp Card using the Trust App. The Trust Supp Card also provides easy control on spending limit which can be managed by the primary card holder in real-time. No other supplementary card delivers this range of features and standard of experience.

5. In-app travel insurance

In June, Trust Bank launched an in-app travel insurance feature, allowing customers to conveniently purchase travel insurance provided by Income Insurance Limited directly within the Trust app. This streamlined process can be completed in just a minute, ensuring affordability, ease, and a seamless experience for users.

In collaboration with Income Insurance Limited, Trust has gone the extra mile to offer exclusive deals to Income policyholders. By paying with their Trust card, policyholders can enjoy an additional 8% discount on Income Travel Insurance Standard Plans, creating added value for Trust's customers.

6. Budget Buddies

Personal Financial Management tools in the form of colourful bar or pie charts are a hygiene feature which many banking apps already have but Trust’s research found that many customers do not find them useful and only go back to them for their “fun” aspect. Trust released a fun financial insights feature called Budget Buddies on the Trust App to help customers track their spending categorically with the use of colourful and animated spirit animals which “grow” as they spend. The feature, which drew inspiration from the much-loved Tamagotchi digital pets of the 1990s, enjoyed a great response with more than 30,000 customers using it within the first few days of release.

7. Instant Loan

In July, Trust released a personal instant loan product, offering customers a simple straight-through journey of only 5 clicks in-App for instant disbursement. Trust has further plans to release products such as savings pots and GIRO payments as well as a greater range of self-serve features.

In-Depth Analysis

The Reason Behind

Market opportunity

Trust's innovation stems from a comprehensive understanding of the dynamic retail banking landscape in Singapore. While existing players are already making substantial investments in digital transformation, Trust recognised that despite these efforts, customers were not receiving a satisfactory digital banking experience due to legacy technology and complex systems that hindered effective digitisation. Moreover, the lack of real-time visibility into rewards and transactions further limited customer satisfaction and decision-making.

Identifying this gap, Trust seized the opportunity to create an innovative solution. Trust embarked on developing a modern, user-friendly app from scratch, leveraging cutting-edge technology to offer seamless, efficient, and transparent digital banking services. By adopting a cloud-native approach, Trust became the first of its kind in Singapore, setting a new standard for technological advancements and infrastructure in the banking sector.

Coming to market with three main products and a well-developed loyalty rewards programme is rare for a digital bank, where the standard approach is to launch with one product - typically a deposit-based product – and then expand at a later point. Delivering this was complex but extensive user research indicated this would create a far more compelling proposition, particularly given the strong levels of competition in the market.

These innovative features, especially security features, were developed in response to extensive user feedback given during the roll-out phase, to address and safeguard customers’ specific needs. Trust continues to act on customer feedback to prioritise planned features or launch new products.

Trust’s unique approach garnered strong support from partners and resonated with consumers, leading to widespread adoption of its pioneering digital banking services.

Investments

Trust's investment journey is underpinned by the synergistic strengths of both Standard Chartered Bank and FairPrice Group. Together, both groups possess complementary capabilities, extensive expertise, and a shared commitment to addressing the banking needs of the Singaporean community. Drawing from Standard Chartered's successful track record in establishing digital banks, notably Mox in Hong Kong, this valuable experience paved the way for Trust's emergence as Singapore's first digitally-native bank.

Trust is owned jointly by Standard Chartered Bank (Singapore) Limited (“SCBSL”) and by BetaPlus, a holding company controlled by NTUC Enterprise. SCBSL and BetaPlus respectively hold 60 per cent and 40 per cent of the issued and paid-up share capital of Trust.

Challenges

Time

Results

Customer Acquisition

The successful development of Trust on an advanced, cloud-native technology stack combined with a well-rounded customer acquisition strategy allowed the bank to reach over 600,000 customers within a year since launch.

The ability to redeem rewards in real-time enabled Trust’s ground-breaking customer referral programme, which significantly enhanced customer growth. The referral programme focused on the instant reward of everyday vouchers (instant $10 FairPrice E-vouchers for every successful referral) which customers valued more over big-ticket items. This contrasts with the traditional rewards for sign-ups, which were often higher value items that are harder for customers to redeem and hold less everyday value.

The programme changed how people interact with their bank. Customers received their E-vouchers through their Trust app in real-time, which they can use instantaneously. The programme's customer acquisition results were outstanding, with almost 70% of new customers being referred to Trust by their friends or family.

Innovation Info

Key Dates

  • Launch date 1 September 2022
  • Time to Market 1-2 years
  • Conception Duration 1 year
  • Implementation Duration 0 month
  • Testing Duration 9 months

Interested in learning more? Speak to Boris, Qorus's Content Lead

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