How Baiduri’s mobile app helped overcome 2020’s unprecedented challenges

The bank's award-winning b.Digital Personal app launched the same day that COVID-19 hit Brunei

October 17, 2022

World Finance recognised Baiduri Bank’s b.Digital Personal app as the best mobile banking app in Brunei for 2021. Wen Feng Goh, Baiduri’s Head of Digital Banking, explains how important the app was in Baiduri’s response to the pandemic, what it means to build with an ‘all-in-one’ design principle, and how customers’ increasingly digital-first behaviour is informing Baiduri Bank’s strategy.

World Finance: You launched b.Digital Personal in March 2020, just as the world began to lock down – how important was it in your response to the pandemic?

Wen Feng Goh: The response for us is extremely important. Because as you can imagine, when the pandemic hit it brought a lot of unprecedented opportunities as well as challenges for the market.

So when we launched b.Digital Personal on March 9th, coincidentally it was the same day that Brunei recorded the first case of COVID-19. So as you can imagine that brought on swift social distancing policies and crowd restriction policies in place.

So when we launched b.Digital Personal, that was instrumental in getting people on board, because with the new platform it offers self-registration. So traditionally, with the old system, what customers would have to do is visit a local branch to get signed up for the service. But with the new b.Digital Personal, customers could just on-board themselves through the app.

World Finance: What other important features did the app offer?

Wen Feng Goh: So I’ll just focus on three features that we’ve rolled out since then. One would be the display of foreign exchange rates – so, that is important for the customer to be informed of the rates they will be offered, particularly when they’re doing international transfers overseas.

The second part is the recertification of the PCI-DSS standard. So that is an industry-wide certification that masks credit card information being transmitted across digital channels.

And obviously the third being our most important I think, is our ability to accommodate customers’ requests. Because as you can appreciate during the pandemic, customers are apprehensive about approaching our branches. So we have to offer them a way to interact with us. And that would be done through the digital app where it’s authenticated, and we will be able to expedite resolutions of any issues or requests.

World Finance: You’ve said the app is designed as an ‘all in one platform’ – how are customers using it to not only manage their balance, but their entire financial lives?

Wen Feng Goh: Yeah, so, all in one is still a design principle that we continue to invest in for any upcoming features that we have. So apart from the traditional transaction features that we have on the app itself, we also have loan calculators, retirement savings calculators, as well as an investment calculator, which helps customers to be informed about their risk appetite when it comes to savings, as well as making the right investments, what sort of investments is appropriate for them. As well as what sort of, for example, taking out a loan, what kind of income, savings they need to have, to be able to reach that goal.

World Finance: And how secure is all of this functionality kept?

Wen Feng Goh: So as you can appreciate, in this day and age customer information, customer privacy is of the utmost importance to us. So we continue to invest heavily in encryption methodologies, as well as adopting industry-wide practices from PCI-DSS standards to the 128 bit encryption across end-to-end, to be able to fully secure all those transactions and customer information.

Additionally, on top of that, we also employ mobile device biometrics, as well as an introduction of an n-PIN, which is a unique PIN that customers would set themselves to verify and authenticate transactions through the app.

World Finance: Finally, how has the app changed the bank’s relationship with your customers, and helped advance the bank’s strategy?

Wen Feng Goh: So, with the introduction of b.Digital Personal in the middle of the pandemic, it has inevitably changed customer behaviour. So right now I would safely say that the digital channel is probably the first that the customer would approach, rather than the traditional branch.

The bank’s strategy has always been to move to a digital-ready channel, right? That is the future, and that is something that we continue to invest in. And obviously with the new normal, you would call it that way, that customers are interacting with our digital channels, that gives us more confidence to be able to say that we will continue to provide more features and services for our customers.