October 20, 2023

eGIRO: The hidden promise behind near-term challenges

We let you in on the nitty gritty challenges behind implementing eGIRO, and share why we think it is still worth pursuing.

What is eGIRO? 

eGIRO was launched in 2021 by the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) as a fully digital version of the paper-based GIRO process, which in turn is the ability for a merchant to “pull” monies from their customers’ bank account. 

Built on API and cloud-based infrastructure, eGIRO provides a much more streamlined and efficient process for consumers and businesses alike. 

Bank accounts can be linked within minutes, as compared to paper-based GIRO forms which take anywhere from 3 to 4 weeks to be processed.

Sounds great! But..why am I not seeing this everywhere?

Simply put, implementing eGIRO on your own is a challenging task involving several complexities.

  1. Bank integrations is hard. For a business to accept eGIRO payments, they first need to integrate with their bank of choice i.e., the sponsor bank. While many banks in Singapore have APIs, integrating with these APIs is still a complex and time consuming process, requiring significant engineering effort. Many organisations today have resource-constrained engineering teams, making this particularly difficult.
  2. eGIRO itself comes with a set of technical complexities. Understanding the technical aspects of eGIRO, including setting up the necessary encryption keys or SSL certificates, can be challenging even for companies with technical resources. 
  3. Security and Error Handling. Any errors in the setup or execution of eGIRO transactions can have consequences, so businesses often need to exercise caution and double-check their set-up. This can make onboarding seem even more complex.
  4. Cost: For all the progress that has been made with eGIRO, setting up eGIRO can be considered a costly endeavour to some businesses. In addition to dedicating engineering resources to such projects, the implementation fees charged by both the banks and the operator of eGIRO, BCS (a subsidiary of NETS), continue to be a deterrence for many. 
  5. Navigating the BCS portal is hard. There are easily 10-20 steps and several back and forths that need to happen within the portal, across 4 roles (Business Maker, Business Checker, Technical Maker and Technical Checker) that the business needs to understand and set up. 
  6. Ongoing maintenance. The quality of customer support and guidance provided by financial institutions and BCS can vary. Some may offer excellent support, while others may be less helpful in assisting users with eGIRO-related issues. Businesses adopting eGIRO will need to dedicate sufficient engineering and project management resources, in order to stay up to date with the latest releases and have a process to manage incidents.

The silver lining: Early exemplars and a growing appetite from consumers and businesses alike

Despite challenges of implementing eGIRO, we’ve seeing the most forward looking businesses push through and reap rewards early.

The following are a few examples among the 78 eGIRO participating billing organisations, published in July 2023 [0]:

  • E-commerce: Leveraging eGIRO for ad hoc payments, players like Grab, Shopee and Lazada have incorporated eGIRO in the form of ‘Linked Bank Accounts’ in their online checkout forms. This approach has proven to be highly sticky: consumers just need to link their bank account once, and can subsequently experience a 1-click checkout experience for all future purchases.
  • Fintechs: Robo-advisory and online brokerage platforms like Moomoo, Tiger Brokers, and Stashaway have introduced eGIRO collections to encourage recurring bank transfers to investment portfolios.
  • Education: Ranges from pre-schools like Carpe Diem Schoolhouse to international schools like the Singapore American School. 
  • Utilities / Telco: Players like Starhub, YTL PowerSeraya, and Senoko Energy have enabled eGIRO collections for monthly bills.

How Acme can help

As a bank integrations focused company, Acme was built around the key pain points for businesses trying to get started with eGIRO and other bank payments or reconciliation needs. In short, Acme helps to streamline and reduce all the complexities to integrate with your bank and enable eGIRO. We’ll take care of all the steps in the implementation process, from onboarding, technical specifications, and to staying close even after you go-live with our ongoing support. 

Want to learn more or give this a shot? Contact us at hello@tryacme.com and visit us at tryacme.com

[0] https://abs.org.sg/docs/library/(17-jul-2023)-egiro-participating-billing-organisations.pdf