MAS Finalises Payment Services Regulatory Framework

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has finalised the regulatory framework for payment services in Singapore. The Payment Services Bill (the Bill) is designed to provide a more conducive environment for innovation in payment services, whilst ensuring that risks across the payments value chain are mitigated.

The Bill streamlines the regulation of payment services within a single activity-based legislation. It comprises two parallel regulatory frameworks:

  1. A designation regime that enables MAS to regulate systemically important payment systems for financial stability as well as efficiency reasons.
  2. A licensing regime that focuses on retail payment services provided to customers and merchants.

The activity-based licensing framework for retail payment services facilitates innovation and mitigates risks. The licence regime has been broadened to encompass a wider range of payment activities, including domestic money transfers, merchant acquisition and the purchase and sale of digital payment tokens. At any point in time, a payment service provider needs only to hold one licence, but of a class that corresponds to the risk posed by the scale of payment services provided. Risk mitigating measures will then be tailored to the specific payment services that a licensee provides to better safeguard customer and merchant monies, ensure adequate controls against money laundering and terrorism financing risks, reduce fragmentation and strengthen technology and cyber standards in the payments space.