Media Releases
Published Date: 30 November 2020

Non-Bank Financial Institutions to have Access to FAST and PayNow

Singapore, 30 November 2020... The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced today that eligible non-bank financial institutions (NFIs) will have direct access to the banking system’s retail payments infrastructure from February 2021. NFIs that are licenced as major payment institutions under the Payment Services Act will be allowed to connect directly to Fast and Secure Transfers (FAST)FAST is an electronic funds transfer service that enables customers of participating entities to transfer Singapore dollar funds from one entity to another instantly. FAST is available 24/7, 365 days of the year. and PayNowPayNow is an overlay central addressing service that runs on top of the FAST payment system. PayNow allows consumers and businesses to make instant payments across accounts using a proxy such as a mobile number, NRIC/FIN number, or Unique Entity Number (UEN). PayNow is also available 24/7, 365 days of the year.

2      Direct connection to FAST and PayNow will enable users of NFI e-wallets to make real-time funds transfers between bank accounts and e-wallets as well as across different e-wallets. Currently, most e-wallets require the use of debit or credit cards to top-up funds, and funds transfers between e-wallets are not possible.

3      Businesses that partner any of the 23 FAST or 9 PayNow banks, or e-wallets that have traditionally been closed-loop ecosystems will soon be able to receive real-time payments from other users of e-wallets or mobile banking applications that will be joining FAST or PayNow. This will enable businesses to access a larger market of consumers than before for receiving e-payments instantly and seamlessly.

4      NFIs will be able to connect directly through a new Application Programming Interface (API) payment gateway developed by the Direct FAST Working Group (DFWG)The DFWG comprises Banking Computer Services Pte Ltd (BCS), The Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS), selected bank members (Citi Singapore, DBS, Deutsche Bank AG Singapore, HSBC Singapore, Maybank Singapore, OCBC Bank, Standard Chartered Singapore Limited, UOB) and NFI members (Grab Financial Group, Liquid Group, MatchMove, Razer Fintech, Singtel Dash, TransferWise)., with guidance from the Singapore Clearing House Association (SCHA) and The Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS), which govern FAST and PayNow respectively. The API payment gateway is better geared to the technology architecture of banks and NFIs, and can also be used by other banks and NFIs in future.

5      Mr Ravi Menon, Managing Director of MAS said, “Direct access by NFIs to FAST and PayNow closes the last-mile gap in Singapore’s e-payments journey. Consumers who may not have ready access to debit or credit cards to fund their e-wallets will now have the option to do so directly through their bank accounts. Our vision to enable complete real-time payments interoperability will now become a reality. Adoption of e-payments will become even more simple for individuals and businesses. MAS thanks the members of the DFWG for their spirit of partnership that brought to fruition this major milestone for e-payments in Singapore.”

6      Mr Lawrence Chan, Chairman of Banking Computer Services Pte Ltd (BCS) said, “Since our inception, BCS has worked closely with the financial industry to spearhead large-scale, national payment projects that have enhanced the industry’s service offerings in Singapore. The successful launch of the API payment gateway is a significant milestone for FAST and PayNow, which are the foundation of instantaneous, open and accessible payments. As the operator of FAST and PayNow, we are proud to be part of this ongoing progress of Singapore’s real-time payments infrastructure that will serve as both a catalyst and an enabler for innovative e-payments.”

7      Mrs Ong Ai-Boon, Director of ABS said, “ABS welcomes new participants to FAST and PayNow. This is the first time the industry has opened access to these two important e-payment platforms to non-banks. The move underscores how much ABS member banks have innovated and transformed to prepare for the digital future, and reaffirms our commitment to give customers greater convenience and options. FAST and PayNow adoption rates have exceeded expectations and we are confident that the addition of new players will help accelerate the national path towards a less-cash economy.”



Notes to editor

  • FAST and PayNow have served the needs of most consumer and business users, with FAST transaction volumes averaging more than 12.5 million per month in the last quarter (Jul to Sep 2020). PayNow monthly transaction volumes now account for almost half of all FAST transactions.
  • In September 2018, MAS announced the policy decision to enable direct access to FAST and PayNow for NFIs such as major e-wallet providers.