Awards

2018 BAI Global Innovation Award Honorable Mention

BAI Global Innovation Awards 2018 finalist DBS Bank

Wild Card

DBS Bank Ltd. – Singapore
DBS API (Application Programming Interface) Developers’ Programme

“DBS embarked on a journey to transform our tech infrastructure nine years ago. With that early start, we are now ahead of many others in being digital to the core. This has given us an edge – enabling us to operate with fintech-like agility and nimbleness, and also platform-like inclusiveness. This will be transformative in ways not imagined previously, both for the customer and the bank.”
–David Gledhill, Group Chief Information Officer

Banking is moving into the open economy, where banks are embracing ecosystems to create new services and experience for customers. DBS API Developers’ Programme is focused on engaging the developer community through both online and offline engagement as they seek to co-create the future of banking.

The APIs allow other brands, corporates, fintechs and software developers to “talk” to the bank to access a breadth of services, including funds transfers and peer-to-peer payment service.

When developers use an open sourced API, they rarely get face-to-face or direct support in integrating the API with their own existing systems. To solve this, DBS set up API development teams that can collaborate and co-create services and working prototypes with developer partners. This has been done with several organizations including Property Guru, the largest property portal in Southeast Asia, as well as Homage, a start-up which provides elderly home and nursing care in Singapore.

The Problem

Most banks have jumped on the open banking and API development bandwagon. However, majority of banks do not try to understand how their APIs are consumed by developers and the end-users. This often results in disjointed customer journeys and make it hard for other companies to integrate the open APIs. DBS recognised that this was a major issue and has introduced several online and offline engagement touchpoints to connect with the developer community, one of the most important relationships in the journey towards open banking.

The Solution

When developers use an open sourced API, they rarely get face-to-face or direct support in integrating the API with their own existing systems. To help with this, DBS has set up API development teams that can collaborate and co-create services and working prototypes with developer partners. This has been done with several organisations including Property Guru, the largest property portal in Southeast Asia, as well as Homage, a startup which provides elderly home and nursing care in Singapore.

Conceptualizing our entire open banking program came from a combination of efforts from our Consumer Banking and Institutional Banking Groups, who provided insights about the type of customer journeys people desired, as well as our technology and development teams who provided the perspective of what developers would be looking out for and how they would develop the relevant services for the end consumer.

The Outcome

DBS API Developer Programme provides benefits in multiple layers.

As developers are the main target audience of the program, they benefit from having direct communications to DBS API team to troubleshoot areas when developing APIs. Additionally, DBS has introduced Reference Apps, a tool that simulates how the different APIs interact with one another. This provides insights into how better codes and systems can be put in place to ensure a smoother customer experience.

For companies, this enables them to provide a better user-experience and automate several functions via the use of APIs. Furthermore, they benefit from data collected and shared when the APIs are pulled out.

Ultimately end consumers also benefit as they are not required to navigate different systems (from a retail site to a payment site, etc.). This helps them save money and enjoy an improved user experience.

Some clients have experienced as much as a 100 percent revenue increase since introducing the APIs into their services. Other clients such as Property Guru have received positive user feedback – customers on their site can check their eligibility for a housing loan and start the application process directly from the site. This speeds up the time required to purchase a home and led to increased customer interactions on Property Guru’s search portal.

DBS team photo

Key Contributors

Conceptualizing our entire open banking program came from a combination of efforts from our Consumer Banking and Institutional Banking Groups, who provided insights about the type of customer journeys people desired, as well as our technology and development teams who provided the perspective of what developers would be looking out for and how they would develop the relevant services for the end consumer.

Development Timeline

November 2016: API Hackathon with selected startups

December 2016: 100 API’s in 100 days challenge

March 2017: API Program presented to DBS Group Innovation Council

March – November 2017: Use-case consolidation, new use-case development, partner acquisition

November 2017: API Developers Portal launched with 50 live partners and 155 APIs in production

March 2018: Developer portal sign-up crosses 1000, and number of APIs in production crosses 200