Singapore-based social networking app Bondee hit with allegations of credit card misuse

Users posted screenshots that were widely shared online of allegedly unauthorised bank transfers. - PHOTOS: BONDEE, SCREENSHOTS FROM TWITTER via The Straits Times/ANN

SINGAPORE, Jan 28 (The Straits Times/ANN): Days after the rapid rise of Singapore-based social networking app Bondee, users have grown hesitant about keeping the app after allegations surfaced online earlier this week that it had misused credit card information.

The app, which blends elements of the metaverse, online gaming and messaging, crossed a million downloads on Google Play and topped App Store charts after its launch on Jan 15. It has since dominated social media feeds, with users showing off their personalised 3D avatars and virtual rooms.

But speculation about Bondee’s data policies surfaced on social media after users posted screenshots of allegedly unauthorised bank transfers, claiming that these had occurred after they installed the Bondee app.

Some users also highlighted that Bondee’s visual style had a striking resemblance to that of Chinese app Zheli, which was once owned by Chinese technology company and went viral. Zheli was removed from app stores in early 2022 after its data privacy practices came under scrutiny. According to Metadream, the rights to were bought over by Bondee in 2022.

Responding to the allegations about its use of credit card details, Bondee’s parent company Metadream said in a statement on Friday night that the claims are false and that the start-up does not collect credit card information.

Metadream said on Instagram: “Recently, it has come to our attention that there are rumours circulating on various social media platforms alleging that the credit card information of Bondee users had been leaked through their use of the Bondee platform.

“We would like to assure our users that such rumours are false and untrue, as Metadream does not currently collect users’ credit card information or any other financial information. We have also undertaken a precautionary review of our systems and wish to assure our users that our systems and our users’ personal data remain safe and secure.”

Metadream added that it will take legal action against those who spread misinformation about its services.

After the statement was issued, some posts that expressed concerns about Metadream’s data privacy practices were removed from social media.

The Straits Times has contacted Metadream and the police for comment.

Metadream has called itself an “independent tech company” that bought the rights to in May 2022, further developing its app for an international audience. Checks on the Singapore Business Directory show that Metadream was started in September 2022 and has an office at Duo Tower in Bugis.

Bondee was released in January in Singapore, Malaysia, Japan and other countries in the region. The next-generation networking app lets users chat over text – with their animated avatars conveying expressions in the background on command – and decorate their own virtual room, in the vein of simulation video game The Sims.

The app requires users to provide their name, account identification, password, mobile number and birthdate, but does not collect any credit card information. - The Straits Times/ANN

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Singapore , Bondee , Account Issues


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