Digital Bank Licence

MAS announced on 28 June 2019 that it will issue up to two digital full bank (DFB) licences and three digital wholesale bank (DWB) licences. These new digital banks are in addition to any digital banks that Singapore banking groups may already establish under MAS’ existing internet banking framework.

The digital bank licences will allow entities, including non-bank players, to conduct digital banking businesses in Singapore. These new digital bank licences mark the new chapter in Singapore’s banking liberalisation journey, and ensure that Singapore’s banking sector continues to be resilient, competitive and vibrant.

  • A DFB will be allowed to take deposits from and provide banking services to retail and non-retail customer segments.
  • A DWB will be allowed to take deposits from and provide banking services to SMEs and other non-retail customer segments.
Applicants must first meet MAS’ eligibility criteria to be considered. All applications must be submitted by 31 December 2019.

Eligibility Criteria

Applications for the DFB or DWB licence must meet the following requirements –

  1. At least one entity in the applicant group has three or more years of track record in operating an existing business in the technology or e-commerce field.
  2. Key persons are fit and proper.
  3. Demonstrates ability to meet the applicable minimum paid-up capital requirement at the onset and the minimum capital funds requirement on an ongoing basis.
  4. Provides clear value proposition, incorporating the innovative use of technology to serve customer needs and reach under-served segments of the Singapore market.
  5. Demonstrates that the proposed digital bank’s business model is sustainable.
  6. Submits a feasible plan that can facilitate the orderly exit of the proposed digital bank.
  7. Shareholders of the proposed digital bank commit to providing a letter of responsibility and a letter of undertaking that MAS may require in respect of the operations of the proposed digital bank.
For DFB licences, MAS will only consider applicants who are anchored in Singapore, controlled by Singaporeans and headquartered in Singapore.

Assessment Criteria

Eligible applicants will then be assessed for the following:

  • Value proposition of the applicant’s business model, incorporating the innovative use of technology to serve customer needs and reach under-served segments of the Singapore market that differentiates it from existing banks. MAS will also consider the ability of the applicant to implement the proposal.
  •  Ability to manage a prudent and sustainable digital banking business, including the level of understanding of key risks in a banking business, and strength of its regulatory compliance and risk management plans. MAS will also consider the reputation, track record, financial strength and commitment of the applicant’s shareholders.
  • Growth prospects and other contributions to Singapore’s financial centre, such as the jobs it will be bringing to Singapore, its commitment to develop the skills of the local workforce, the capabilities (including technology) it will be locating in Singapore, the headquarter functions it will be anchoring here as well as its regional expansion plans.

How to Apply

To apply for a DFB licence or a DWB licence, please provide the information and documents required under the Application Form (452.5 KB).

For more details on the application process, eligibility criteria, and other requirements and permissible activities for the digital banks, please refer to the Eligibility Criteria and Requirements for Digital Banks (715 KB) and Frequently-Asked Questions (614.1 KB).

All applications must be emailed to Digital_Banks@mas.gov.sg by 31 December 2019.

Further enquiries can also be emailed to the same address.

Processing Time

MAS expects to announce the successful applicants in mid-2020.