Grab-Singtel consortium launches GXS Bank, Singapore's first digital bank

·Finance Editor
·4 min read
GSX Bank's services will be rolled out progressively, starting with selected employees and underbanked customers within GXS, Grab and Singtel, followed by consumers.
The GXS Bank's digital app will be available in Apple's App Store and Google Play Store from 5 September, CEO Charles Wong said. (PHOTO: Nick Tan/Yahoo Finance Singapore)

SINGAPORE — GXS Bank, backed by Grab Holdings and Singapore Telecommunications, on Wednesday (31 August) unveiled its savings account product as it claimed the position of Singapore's first digital bank for consumers and businesses.

The GXS Savings Account is targeted at gig economy workers, self-employed entrepreneurs, small businesses and those new to the workforce.

The GXS Bank's digital app will be available in Apple's App Store and Google Play Store from 5 September.

The bank's services will be rolled out progressively, starting with selected employees and underbanked customers within GXS, Grab and Singtel, followed by consumers.

Customers can deposit up to S$5,000 into the savings account and earn daily interest of 0.08 per cent per annum, with no minimum balance requirement.

As consumers in Singapore have the habit of allocating different pocket of funds for different goals, GSX will allow customers to create up to eight so-called "Savings Pockets" and transfer funds from the main savings account to these pockets which can earn daily interest of up to 1.58 per cent per annum.

"GXS is uniquely positioned to learn and to refine the banking experience so that it is extremely personalised and relevant to customers because we are part of a powerhouse ecosystem that includes Grab and Singtel," the bank's chief executive Charles Wong said at a briefing on Wednesday.

Grab and Singtel ecosystems

The Grab and Singtel ecosystem collectively has more than three million customers and that is "one big advantage that we have to allow us to acquire customers and have access to customers", Wong said. He added the diversity of data from this ecosystem helps them to create products and services that are "highly personalised and relevant".

Wong was a veteran at Citigroup with more than 20 years of experience, and was the retail banking head in Singapore before he joined Grab as senior managing director in April 2020. He was appointed to head GSX Bank in April this year.

GSX Bank currently has 250 employees based in Grab's new headquarters in One-North which officially opened earlier this month.

"We are definitely hiring, but we are hiring selectively," Wong said, declining to comment on the number of new additions.

GXS Savings Account-holders also do not need to worry about being penalised with fees should they need to withdraw their savings as there is no minimum balance requirement.
The GXS Savings Account offers a 0.08 per cent interest per annum accrued daily.(PHOTO: Nick Tan/Yahoo Finance Singapore)

Four digital bank licences

The Grab-Singtel consortium is one of the two groups that won "digital full bank" licences in Singapore, which allows them to directly take deposits and offer services locally to retail as well as corporate customers. The other licence was given to a wholly-owned unit of Sea Ltd.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore in December 2020 awarded two "digital full bank" and two "digital wholesale bank" licences.

The two digital wholesale banks —which offer services only to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and other non-retail segments — have since started operations earlier in June.

Green Link Digital Bank, owned by a consortium comprising Greenland Financial and Linklogis Hong Kong started operating in Singapore on 3 June. This was followed by the launch of ANEXT Bank, a digital wholesale bank incorporated in Singapore and owned by China's Ant Group.

Digital banks in Singapore differ from the traditional banks such as DBS, OCBC and UOB, which offer some banking services via the Internet or mobile apps as well as through their physical branches.

Digital banks have no physical presence and all banking services will be done online.

GXS is also the first digital bank in Singapore to be awarded the Data Protection Trustmark by the Infocomm Media Development Authority.

GXS Bank has also received a digital banking license from Malaysia in April this year, one of only three full digital bank licenses granted to a total 29 applicants.

Wong said they are focused on building up the team and laying a solid foundation for Malaysia. He declined to comment on plans as "it is still early days for us".

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter.

Yahoo Singapore Telegram
Yahoo Singapore Telegram