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The future of payments in Singapore: From outages to innovation with BaaS


The future of payments in Singapore: From outages to innovation with BaaS


12 April, 2024

The BaaS model will enhance the payments landscape by reducing technical debt, boosting agility, and scaling without compromising legacy systems.

In today’s world, seamless payment transactions for daily essentials like food, transportation, and housing are expected. Yet, some of the most commonly used payment systems appear disconnected,, clunky, rife with technical issues and fraud – rampant in everyday life. In October 2023 alone, 2.5 million transactions were affected by bank outages in Singapore and 810,000 attempts to log in to digital banking accounts failed.


Despite having advanced technology solutions readily available, notable challenges still exist in the financial industry. With customer wants and needs rapidly evolving with technology, how can traditional financial institutions keep up?


Embedded finance is the norm today and Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) is the antidote to the issues plaguing payments and the broader financial industry. Enabling banks and fintech companies to innovate as they collaborate, which then leads to better and more efficient financial products and services, BaaS simplifies the integration of banking services via the use of APIs, reducing complexity and speeding up the development of new payment solutions. The benefits are both obvious and endless, but we must first understand why it is especially crucial in Singapore’s payments market.


The payment landscape in Singapore can be divided into three categories of key players: banks and financial institutions, payment processors (think Visa or Mastercard, Stripe, Apple Pay, etc.), and fintech firms looking to disrupt the financial services landscape. It features multiple digital payment systems, schemes, and providers that operate independently, leading to complexities for both merchants and end consumers.


PayLah!, PayAnyone, and PayNow have transformed the ability to make purchases, including P2P purchases, without the need for a payment gateway or terminal. Now, everyone with a bank account can be both a merchant and a consumer, reducing the cash transactions seen from yesteryear. User acceptance across these applications is promising.


There is also a huge range of payment providers with their own set of services, fees, and technical requirements that are complex to navigate. Additionally, the existing services can be inefficient, partly due to the significant technical debt accumulated by banks and financial institutions over the years as new features are added and changes are made to accommodate the evolving requirements of users. Technical debt and the lack of resources utilised to play catch up sees legacy systems succumb to outages and inefficiencies.


The BaaS proposition was specifically designed to overcome these challenges. BaaS typically means that banks and financial institutions leverage scalable and modular technology solutions that allow them to expose their services to third party platforms in a seamless manner. On top of that, banks and financial institutions effectively providing BaaS already adhere to industry standards and best practices, especially around security and regulatory requirements that also prevent the introduction of unnecessary complexity or inefficiencies into the system.


BaaS is a one-way ticket to a world where banks work with third party platforms including but not limited to fintechs, to launch new products and services without having to build infrastructure from scratch. This is where innovation happens at speed as we can test new ideas and iterate more rapidly.


On a more practical level, BaaS also enhances security in the financial services industry, as the banks and financial institutions themselves are adopting advanced security measures, compliance with regulatory standards, secure APIs and data protection measures as part of their technology stack.


However, there is still quite a ways to go in terms of the widespread adoption of BaaS as a business model amongst banks and FIs in Singapore. Many banks and financial institutions are yet to fully appreciate the suite of advantages that the business models offers, whilst others are hesitant to do so due to the limitations of their existing solution in catering to the inevitable scale of a BaaS business model.


Addressing these challenges will need a multifaceted approach with regulators, third party ecosystems, payment providers and banks / financial institutions collaborating to create an environment conducive to innovation with ample support for the integration of a easy to deploy and scalable solution with legacy systems.


Singapore’s readiness to be a global leader in fintech is proof of its rapid growth potential. With the government implementing and promoting regulatory sandboxes that allow for fintechs to test products and services in a controlled environment, a revolving door of new fintech solutions to solve even the most complex problems awaits. We’ll also start to see a higher rate of financial inclusion as the use of digital wallets and simplified banking services are more widely adopted.


Overall, the Singapore payments landscape will benefit greatly from an adoption of a BaaS business model by banks and financial institutions – especially in reducing technical debt, significantly increasing agility and offer a solution to scalability without compromising in legacy systems. With the government’s commitment to continuous improvements and fixes, the transformative impact of BaaS on the Singapore payments landscape is poised to be significant, paving the way for a more efficient, secure, and innovative financial ecosystem.



This article was first posted on e27.

SC Ventures launches audax Financial Technology to help financial institutions accelerate digital banking capabilities

Press Release

SC Ventures launches audax Financial Technology to help financial institutions accelerate digital banking capabilities


21 September, 2023

  • audax is designed to help banks compete in the digital age, pursue new digital business models, while complementing existing core systems
  • audax is the digital banking platform that powered the first global bank to offer Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) in Asia
  • The launch follows audax’s successful commercialisation of its BaaS offerings for Standard Chartered with leading Indonesian all-commerce platform Bukalapak

SINGAPORE, 21 September 2023 – SC Ventures, Standard Chartered’s innovation, fintech investment and ventures arm, launches audax Financial Technology (“audax”), a digital banking technology solutions provider. It is designed to empower banks and financial institutions to accelerate their digital transformation, deliver new business models, serve new customer segments and derive new revenue streams.


By 2030[1], the business-to-business to any-end-user (B2B2X) market is expected to reach USD440 billion in annual revenues, driven by advancements in the financial infrastructure, digital banking and embedded finance space. audax will play a part in this growth market by helping incumbent banks in two distinct use cases: Digital Banking and Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS).


audax provides an end-to-end digital banking platform with modularised capabilities that are designed to efficiently handle millions of customer data concurrently. Its plug-and play solution serves the entire client lifecycle – from client and staff interfaces, to deposits and lending products, to client servicing and data reporting. Built to complement incumbent banks’ core systems, audax’s infrastructure-agnostic technology also enables banks to pursue modern digital transformation without the need for costly and time-consuming in-house development or migration.


Prior to launch, audax’s solution powered Standard Chartered nexus (“SC nexus”), a white-label plug-and-play BaaS offering for large ecosystem players. Through SC nexus, Standard Chartered Bank was the first global bank to provide BaaS in Asia. Successful partnerships, include Bukalapak, an Indonesian all-commerce platform. Using audax’s technology, Standard Chartered nexus enabled BukaTabungan to simplify its digital account opening journey to be as fast as two minutes, since customers do not have to visit a physical branch or speak to a banker to complete an application. This is achieved through audax’s advanced automation, plus security technologies that employ artificial intelligence, biometric facial recognition and E-KTP (Indonesia’s biometrics-enabled ID programme) validation.


With audax’s platform, SC nexus will help Sociolla, a beauty e-commerce platform, set up digital banking for their customers. audax is also slated to support SC nexus with its third partner in a second market, targeted to launch in Q4 of 2023.


“audax’s digital banking solutions will help financial institutions unlock more opportunities,” said Alex Manson, who leads SC Ventures. “The successful partnership between Standard Chartered and Bukalapak to launch BukaTabungan is an example of how audax has provided a truly paperless, digital banking access, serving Bukalapak’s ecosystem of more than 150 million users and 20 million business owners. Going forward, audax can achieve the same for any other financial institution looking to partner with any platform.”


Headquartered in Singapore, audax aims to become a home-grown global technology company. The fintech is focused on accelerating the technology ecosystem starting with the APAC region. Its current mission is to empower banks and financial institutions to scale and modernise at speed with audax’s digital banking capabilities.


Kelvin Tan, the former Managing Director and Global Head of SC nexus, will lead audax as its CEO, together with most of his incumbent team. audax will continue to serve Standard Chartered in a commercial capacity by powering its BaaS proposition, SC nexus, for current and future partnerships. Having navigated complex technical and regulatory environments within the ecosystem of a global bank and boasting a proven track record in driving client success through its external partnerships, the team is confident in helping incumbent banks achieve similar digital transformation results successfully.


“The meaning of audax is ‘courage’ – and that is exactly the defining characteristic of the team we’ve built and needed for what we are about to achieve,” Tan said. “We are excited to push the frontiers of what is considered possible. audax has showcased the potential of BaaS and how it has scaled the digital business for Standard Chartered, enabling them to acquire new-to-bank customers at a fraction of traditional customer acquisition costs. We are now ready to scale it for other banks and financial institutions globally, helping everyone create better value for their business without risking their existing estate.”


audax Financial Technology

audax Financial Technology is a comprehensive digital banking solutions provider empowering banks and financial institutions to scale and modernise at speed. audax Financial Technology has enabled new business models and revenue streams for Standard Chartered under the SC nexus proposition, becoming the first global bank to provide Banking-as-a-Service in Asia.

For more information, please visit and follow audax on LinkedIn.


SC Ventures

SC Ventures is a business unit that provides a platform and catalyst for Standard Chartered to promote innovation, invest in disruptive financial technology and explore alternative business models. SC Ventures was established in 2018 as a new business unit to lead digital innovation and to invest in Financial Technology companies. It aims to scale breakthrough business models, having launched 30+ new ventures, 2,700+ fintech Bridge community and 22 portfolio companies under its belt.

For more information, please visit and follow SC Ventures on LinkedIn.


For media enquiries, please contact:

Media Contact:

Fernn Lim, Chief of Staff, audax [email protected]

Chi-an Chang, PR & Comms Lead, SC Ventures [email protected]


[1] Reimagining the Future of Finance (BCG & QED, 2023)