OCBC rolls out ‘GIRO API’


OCBC Bank has released Singapore’s first GIRO payment API, allowing customers to “instantly” and “seamlessly” set up GIRO transactions via third-party websites or apps.

OCBC’s GIRO API supports the creation of GIRO facilities from third-party billing websites or apps, providing a streamlined option for consumers to use GIRO to pay their telecommunications, utility bills, or insurance premiums, the bank said.

APIs are tools and protocols to support the creation of software applications and specify how these applications interact with each other.

Presently, electronic applications for GIRO payments are submitted through banking websites and apps – potentially taking upwards of three days to process; paper-based, hard copy processing can take upwards of three weeks to process.

The launch of the GIRO API aligns with MAS’s (the Singapore financial regulator) push for the pervasive use of e-payments, according to Praveen Raina, senior vice president, group operations and technology, OCBC Bank.

“Our GIRO API has the power to change the way people pay. With instant GIRO set-up made possible and the added convenience, we expect more customers to switch to GIRO as their payment choice for all bills, making late payments a thing of the past,” Raina said. “This, in turn, will benefit billing organisations as payment collections will be more efficient and they will not have to spend time and resources reminding customers to meet their payment deadlines,” he added.

The GIRO API is set to offer substantial benefits for Singapore taxpayers who favour GIRO-based payments. The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) will become OCBC’s first partner developer to use the GIRO API. By November 2017, OCBC Bank customers will be able to instantly set up a GIRO facility – to pay individuals’ income and property taxes – on IRAS’s myTax Portal.

GIRO is a payment standard used throughout Singapore for direct debit transfers. The GIRO mechanism establishes a direct contractual relationship between consumers and billing organisations, with banks acting as intermediaries in the payment transaction process. GIRO is used frequently in the payment of public sector fees and charges.

Alongside the GIRO API, OCBC has released four additional transactional APIs as part of the bank’s Contect2OCBC software development program, bringing the total number of in-house developed APIs to 43.

OCBC become the first bank in Southeast Asia to launch an open API platform, launching its debut API in May 2016.