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OCBC Pay Anyone

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With the release of Amazon Echo and Google Assistant, Artificial Intelligence, a once remote concept which existed only in sci-fi and academic reports, has officially entered the consumers’ day-to-day.  

The evolution from indexing information, to voice recognition, computer vision and machine learning, enables intelligent systems to supplant user interfaces as we think of them – AI is becoming the new UI.  

Inevitably, hurdles exist for AI to gain traction in some traditional utilities. One such utility is payments. Money transfer from one account to another is often complicated.  Even online banking systems require multiple passwords, security codes and many steps to process a simple transaction.  

In Singapore, OCBC is a challenger bank.  Although it has vastly improved its services, it is indexing behind the market leader DBS in terms of brand perception. 

The brand is known for its quality products and services, but not enough Singaporeans know of its innovations. Even worse, some of them are taken for granted. How could it stand out as an innovator in consumer banking?  

OCBC needed to differentiate its offering and stand out as an innovator in order to overtake the market leader in terms brand perception.  

Payments are important to consumers because money, security and speed are key elements. This is a very crowded space locally, with DBS Paylah and SCB Dash leading the pack. Yet, there isn’t much to differentiate them. 

Simplifying the payment process and delivering a Voice User Interface presented an opportunity to distinguish its peer-to-peer payment solution, and build reputation as an innovator in the market.   

Mobile phone penetration in Singapore is the highest in the world, with 1.5 devices per person. iPhones particularly enjoy high penetration here, and so were a clear target for the solution. Siri is Apple’s "intelligent assistant" that enables users to operate the mobile device and its apps through voice interaction. Powered by Machine Learning, the development of such systems will lead to utilities being delivered by simply speaking to the iPhone.  

The brand seized the opportunity to leverage the popularity and magic of Siri to enable voice driven payments and thus take the lead in the payments space in APAC.  


Presenting OCBC Pay Anyone (PAO) - a service within its mobile banking app that allows customers to send to anyone, on their mobile, email or Facebook contact list, up to S$1,000 daily.   

Building on the halo of Singapore’s first peer to peer social payment solution, the brand is the first in APAC to introduce the convenience of simple and secure payments via Apple’s Siri and its proprietary messaging service iMessage. 

Through voice recognition, iMessage will automatically capture the recipient’s name, and the amount to transfer while chatting. Through the voice user interface, the OCBC app would appear within iMessage, and the transaction is done seamlessly. You don’t need to know the recipient’s bank account details. And you can even send money while texting your friend without leaving the chat screen.   


Using this upgraded app, you now can Pay Anyone on your mobile, email or Facebook contact list in a breeze!  

No password key-in, no multiple steps of security clearance. Siri simply accepts a verbal command from the sender to safely execute the entire payment. This is triggered by certain keywords, for example “Pay”, “Recipient’s Name” and “Dollar/Dollars”. You don’t need to know the recipient’s bank details, and the recipient can be with any bank in Singapore - they don’t have to be OCBC customers!  

Moving one step further, the brand confidently overshot the market benchmark payment cap by 100% PayAnyone, lifting the daily max to SGD $1000.  

To best engage the target audience, the agency chose to harness a 360 degree campaign with Print, OOH and Digital, paired with targeted BTL communications. The campaign was boosted with a tactical promotion to drive usage of the app during the campaign period, which is still ongoing. 

To drive awareness, it used high reach media such as Print (ST) and OOH. For digital it chose a strong SEM push as well as targeted messaging to iOS users using mobile advertising.  A video was also created which spoofed a Star Wars situation to deliver the message of Voice enabled payments. The video was then served on Facebook and YouTube based on an individual’s profile and behavioural data. Naturally it leveraged its own CRM platforms to reach out to its own segmented users.  

To reinforce the message, the service was hosted on the brand's owned web assets, accompanied by large format posters across its 48 strong branch network, and 100 ATM’s. 


Within two months of launch, transactions have jumped by over 200%. Now 60% of OCBC customers do more than one transaction per month using Pay Anyone, with 25% doing at least one a week. And average transaction value increased by 300%. 21% of the total transactions are now above SG$100 and 10% are over SG$250. The service is especially popular among young professionals (2/3 of total users).  

The downloads of the app continue to grow with an organic 100 downloads daily, showing the long-term value of the app. 

The service also received high rating from the tech community, and gained valuable organic media coverage 

“Sending money to our peers can be done within a minute, and it also takes less than a minute for the recipient to transfer the money to the bank account of his/hers… It addresses accurately what the mobile consumers want and need – simple, secured and convenient.” (by 

“OCBC has certainly nailed the execution: the app is easy-to-use and worked without hiccups.” (by Tech In Asia) 

“OCBC Pay Anyone is "still the first and only" account-to-account mobile micro-payment service offered by any bank in Singapore that does not require the recipient's bank account details to make a transfer.” (by 

Most importantly, by activating and delivering a simple and secure payment process through “intelligent systems” like Siri using Voice Recognition, OCBC is recognised as a pioneer in marrying consumer needs with innovation, and pushing the industry a step closer to a future of Artificial Intelligence. 

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OCBC Singapore
March - April 2016
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