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Visa Responds to Singapore Consumer Calls for Greater Control of Data

Visa is set to collaborate with the Singapore statutory board Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) to explore the industry-led development of consent standards. The partnership is set to consider consent purpose alongside consent flow models to aid consumer understanding of data sharing. 

As part of the new partnership, the VISA and IMDA also plan to consider future collaboration opportunities with like-minded companies in Singapore to pilot consent solutions and/or tools.

Visa has already released its ‘Consent Management Specification‘. The release sets out technical guidelines, helping global organisations to establish better processes. The specification aims to improve the overall user experience for collecting data usage permissions.

These guidelines focus on creating consistent permission experiences for data-sharing requests. Such permission experiences could greater enable consumers to decide what personal data they will share with companies online, and what it is used for.

The move comes shortly after Visa released the results of its ‘Consumer Data Confidence Research’. The research found that 77 per cent of Singapore consumers want the option to control their data. Many currently feel that this decision is left completely up to the discretion of companies and the government.

Currently, two in three consumers in Singapore use online shopping services and financial service apps weekly. With so many using online applications so regularly, many are exposed to greater numbers of requests for their personal data.

In fact, Visa’s research found that 65 per cent of consumers are required to provide some form of personal data every time they use an online service. Seventy-four per cent of Singapore consumers believe these same companies rarely educate them about data policies or options. This is while the number of companies requesting personal information continues to rise.

Over half (52 per cent) of those involved in the research believe that data policies are written to protect companies’ legal interest rather than their users.

Improving consent standards for consumer data

The Visa research prompted the partnership with IMDA to improve the consent standards for Singapore consumer data.

Adeline Kim, Visa Singapore IMDA
Adeline Kim, country manager for Singapore and Brunei at Visa

Adeline Kim, country manager for Singapore and Brunei for Visa, commented on the need for action. Kim said: “Data is a defining part of our online experiences. Whether you are shopping online for groceries or completing mobile banking transactions. Improving the way businesses request and manage consumer data is critical to providing consumers with frictionless online commerce and payment experiences.

“Visa is pleased to partner with IMDA to improve data consent standards. These standards are placing control of personal data back into the hands of the consumer. This collaboration, along with efforts such as the Visa Consent Management Specification guidelines, will help businesses in Singapore establish standardised processes and encourage more consumers to participate in the data sharing economy.”

Zee Kin Yeong Visa Singapore IMDA
Yeong Zee Kin, assistant chief executive in the data innovation and protection group for IMDA

Yeong Zee Kin is the assistant chief executive in the data innovation and protection group for the Infocomm Media Development Authority of Singapore. He is also deputy commissioner for the personal data protection commission.

He explained why companies need to adopt consumer-centric models: “Each day, we click through numerous online web forms. We are consenting to common requests, such as cookie collection and receiving marketing messages. But they all look and behave differently.

“Establishing standardised permission flows can engender consumer trust. We are heartened by Visa’s ambition to create a seamless and transparent end-to-end experience. We strongly encourage companies to adopt these consumer-centric consent models.”

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