Parliamentary Replies
Published Date: 04 April 2022

Reply to Parliamentary Question on Licence Exemptions under the Payment Services Act




Date: For Parliament Sitting on 4 April 2022

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Chua Kheng Wee Louis, MP, Sengkang GRC


To ask the Prime Minister for entities which are previously granted an exemption from holding a licence under the Payment Services Act (a) what is the breakdown in the number of companies for those (i) whose exemption ceased after the specified period (ii) those that are rejected by MAS and (iii) those which applications are withdrawn; and (b) what is the average length of time between the grant of exemption and eventual end of exemption.

Answer by Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister and Minister in charge of MAS:

1. The Payment Services Act (PS Act) came into effect on 28 January 2020.  As part of the transitional arrangements, entities that were engaged in regulated activities before the commencement of the PS Act were exempted from holding a licence if they submitted licence applications before July 2020 for digital payment token (DPT) activities, or January 2021 for the other regulated activities. The exemption from licensing remains in force until the applications are approved or rejected by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) or withdrawn by the applicant.

2. Since the commencement of the PS Act, MAS has received over 580 licence applications, of which 415 had notified MAS within the specified period and were exempted from licensing. To date, 87 applications have been approved, 11 rejected, and 147 applications withdrawn after engagement with MAS. Around 170 entities remain exempted from licensing, whose applications are pending reviews. 

3. The list of entities exempted from holding a licence and the list of entities that are no longer exempt from holding a licence are available on the MAS website. 

4. MAS closely scrunitises all applications to ensure the quality of the risk management systems and controls of the applicant. Applications that are incomplete or unclear take longer to process. Entities may also withdraw their applications.


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