Trust Bank is the latest digital bank to announce its launch in Singapore.

Trust Bank, the latest digital bank to announce its launch in Singapore, said on Thursday (Sep 1) that it is rolling out a range of products including a savings account and a “numberless” credit card that allows customers to choose their repayment date.

The savings account will offer a “market-leading” base rate and allow customers to earn up to 1.4 per cent of interest on their deposits, said the new bank formed by Standard Chartered and FairPrice Group.

The base rate is 1 per cent on the first S$50,000 of deposits, with NTUC Union Members getting to enjoy a bonus interest of 0.4 per cent when they make five eligible purchases with the bank’s credit card. Non-members will enjoy a bonus interest of 0.2 per cent on the same purchases.

Chief executive officer Dwaipayan Sadhu told reporters that the bank currently offers “one of the highest” base rates for savings accounts. While the bank reviews its rates on a weekly or monthly basis depending on market developments and overall interest rate movements, it has no plans to make adjustments to its rates anytime soon.

“One of the things that we pride ourselves on is that we must have a sustainable offer which we will be able to sustain over time,” he said.

The new bank’s “numberless” card will offer the dual functionality of a credit and debit card. Cardholders will not have to pay fees, such as an annual fee and foreign transaction fee, and will be able to choose their repayment date.

In addition as a promotional launch rate until December, the digital bank is giving up to 21 per cent NTUC Linkpoints rebates on its credit card for NTUC members and 15 per cent savings for non-members.

Trust Bank is also offering a family personal accident insurance developed by Income. This comes at a premium of S$0.50 per month and has no limit to the number of dependents covered. The policy will be available at no premiums for the first two months when a customer signs up for the bank’s credit card.

These products, which will be available via the bank’s app, were built based on “extensive feedback” received during its user testing period.

The new bank is touting a “differentiated customer experience”, with customers being able to sign up “in minutes” with their SingPass accounts and use their digital cards immediately.

Speaking at the launch, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong said Trust Bank will add to the diversity of the local banking system and help strengthen Singapore’s digital economy.

He added that the launch is timely, as it comes amid an acceleration in the society’s adoption of digital services due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With this greater digital adoption in financial services, there is much potential for the banking sector to relook how to do things differently and serve customers better,” Mr Wong said, noting how digital banks can reach out to under-served segments better with the use of data and technology. 

Mr Wong also encouraged the new virtual bank to protect customers from ever-evolving banking scams and maintain a high level of data security.

Trust Bank, which is 60 per cent owned by Standard Chartered and 40 per cent by NTUC’s enterprise arm, obtained a full bank licence in December 2020. The bank’s shareholders have invested about S$400 million. 
The launch comes a day after Grab and Singtel, which have jointly been awarded a “digital full bank” licence, unveiled their digital bank – GXS – and its first product.
Technology firm Sea holds the other “digital full bank” licence issued by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) nearly two years ago, as part of liberalising the financial industry.
The MAS also gave out two licences for digital wholesale banks targeting small- and medium-size enterprises and other non-retail segments. Both virtual banks – Ant’s ANEXT Bank and the Green Link Digital Bank – have launched in June.
In general, virtual banks offer services that one can expect from conventional banks, such as accepting deposits, loans, facilitating payments and loans, except that these will be performed online as digital banks do not have physical branches.


But to cater to existing needs for cash bills, Trust Bank will have its own ATMs, said Mr Sadhu who described this as “a very big” differentiator from its competitors who operate fully online.

“We want (customers) to move entirely cashless. We want them to move fully digital, but it’s a journey. While cash usage is coming down, there are still some places where you need cash,” he told reporters.

Trust Bank’s ATM will be located in the FairPrice outlet at VivoCity. Customers can also access their accounts through Standard Chartered’s ATMs across Singapore.

The new bank aims to be “as inclusive as possible” and is hoping to attract all segments of customers in Singapore, including those from the older generation.

Noting that there remains a “small set of customers who may not be very digitally comfortable yet”, Mr Sadhu said a customer experience centre will be set up at VivoCity’s FairPrice outlet in the coming weeks.

“This customer experience centre is not a bank branch. We do not accept cash. We do not accept cheques, we do not do any of the banking transactions,” he stressed.

“What this does is it takes the client on the digital journey. It shows the client how to sign up, how to safely and securely (access) digital banking, and essentially answers questions (a customer) may have towards a digital bank.” 

The latest digital bank entrant currently has 200 full-time employees and intends to hire more as it expands its products and services.

Ms Judy Hsu, Standard Chartered’s chief executive officer of consumer, private and business banking described the digital bank’s initial products as a “well-rounded suite of savings, credit and protection solutions coupled with rewarding lifestyle offers and benefits”.

“By integrating Trust’s digital-first services seamlessly into customers’ everyday lives, Trust is making banking accessible, secured and effortless for everyone,” she added.

FairPrice Group’s chairman Kee Teck Koon said: “Trust’s credit card and savings account will empower our customers to enjoy savings from groceries to food and everyday spend via seamless integration with FairPrice Group’s Link Rewards programme, while benefitting NTUC union members with an easier way to earn higher Linkpoint rebates and savings account interest. 

“Together with the trusted partnership of Standard Chartered, we are confident that the synergies created through our combined strengths and heritage will make Trust’s banking solutions convenient and accessible for all.”

Source: Channel News Asia