Payments

Find out about the licensing, designation, regulations and guidance for payment service providers and payment systems in Singapore.

Licensing and Designation

Payment service providers and payment systems are both regulated under the Payment Services Act 2019 ("PS Act"). Payment service providers are licensed to provide specified payment services under the PS Act. Payment systems facilitate the transfer of funds between or among participants and may be designated under the PS Act for closer supervision.

To view the list of licensed payment service providers in Singapore, refer to the Financial Institutions Directory.

The list of entities that have notified MAS pursuant to the Payment Services (Exemption for Specified Period) Regulations 2019 can be found here.

Types of Payment Services

MAS regulates seven payment services under the PS Act:

 

Activity Type  Brief Description 

Activity A

Account issuance service

The service of issuing a payment account or any service relating to any operation required for operating a payment account, such as an e-wallet (including certain multi-purpose stored value cards) or a non-bank issued credit card.

Activity B

Domestic money transfer service

Providing local funds transfer service in Singapore. This includes payment gateway services and payment kiosk services.

Activity C

Cross-border money transfer service

Providing inbound or outbound remittance service in Singapore.

Activity D

Merchant acquisition service

Providing merchant acquisition service in Singapore where the service provider processes payment transactions from the merchant and processes payment receipts on behalf of the merchant. Usually the service includes providing a point-of-sale terminal or online payment gateway.

Activity E

E-money issuance service

Issuing e-money to allow the user to pay merchants or transfer to another individual.

Activity F

Digital payment token service

Buying or selling digital payment tokens (“DPTs”) (commonly known as cryptocurrencies), or providing a platform to allow persons to exchange DPTs.

Activity G

Money-changing service

Buying or selling foreign currency notes.

There are exclusions from the scope of payment services under Part 2 of the First Schedule of the PS Act , such as services by technical service providers that do not accept money, and services in respect of limited purpose e-money. You may also refer to the FAQs on the Payment Services Act for more information on the scope of payment services.

 

The diagram below shows how the payment services interact with each other, merchants and consumers.

 

  

Types of Licences

Payment service providers can conduct multiple payment services under one licence. There are three types of licences that payment service providers can hold to provide the payment services above:

Money-Changing Licence


Money-Changing licensees are only able to conduct money-changing services. Find out about their licensing requirements.

Standard Payment Institution Licence

Standard Payment Institutions are able to conduct multiple payment services below specified thresholds. Find out about their licensing requirements.
Major Payment Institution Licence


Major Payment Institutions are able to conduct multiple payment services without any limits on transaction volume or float. Find out about their licensing requirements.

         
Find out about the application process.
Ongoing Requirements

Licensees are required to comply, on an ongoing basis, with all applicable requirements set out under the PS Act, as well as other relevant legislation. Licensees are expected to put in place systems, policies and procedures to ensure that they fulfil all ongoing obligations, including the key areas below:

  • Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Requirements

  • Periodic Returns

  • Cyber Hygiene

  • Business Conduct

  • Disclosures and Communications

  • Annual Audit Requirements    

  • Forms and Templates

Licensees should also understand and apply the relevant MAS Guidelines and keep abreast of regulatory changes.

You may refer to the key Notices and Guidelines here.

Transitional Arrangements

On the commencement of the PS Act on 28 January 2020, the Payment Systems (Oversight) Act (“PS(O)A”) and Money-changing and Remittance Businesses Act (“MCRBA”) that provided for the oversight of stored value facilities and regulation of money-changing and remittance businesses, were repealed.

Holders of widely accepted stored value facilities, money-changer’s and remittance licence under the PSOA and MCRBA

Approved holders of widely accepted stored value facilities and licensed remittance agents have been deemed as major payment institutions under the PS Act and holders of money-changer’s licences have been deemed as holders of money-changing licences under the PS Act.

Entities conducting new payment services

For new payment services, there are transitional arrangements where entities are exempted from applying for and holding a licence with respect to the specific payment services for a specified period. Such entities must have made a notification to MAS by 27 February 2020. The list of entities that have notified MAS pursuant to the Payment Services (Exemption for Specified Period) Regulations 2019 can be found here.

The specific payment services are, in summary:

 Payment Service Specific Payment Service Specified Period 
 Account issuance service Providing account issuance service 12 months from commencement
i.e. 28 January 2021
 Domestic money transfer service Providing domestic money transfer service
 Cross-border money transfer service Providing inward cross-border money transfer service
 Merchant acquisition service Providing merchant acquisition service
 E-money issuance service Issuing e-money where the total float (set out in the PS Act as total relevant money) held by the e-money issuer does not exceed S$30 million
 Digital payment token service  Providing digital payment token

 6 months from commencement
i.e. 28 July 2020

The PS Act empowers MAS to collect information from all payment systems in Singapore to monitor the development of the payment system industry in Singapore and make informed policy decisions. MAS may designate a payment system under the PS Act if it is considered a systemically important payment system or a system-wide important payment system, or where it is otherwise in the public interest to do so.

In addition, MAS may designate important payment systems under the Payment and Settlement Systems (Finality and Netting) Act (FNA) to ensure that these systems continue to function smoothly during times of disruption. Specifically, the FNA ensures the finality and irrevocability of transactions made through these systems by “carving out” the relevant insolvency rules.

Find out about the various payment systems supervised by MAS.

Regulations and Guidance

MAS is governed by the MAS Act, which confers on it powers to issue legal instruments for regulation and supervision of financial institutions.

View all regulations

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Resources

Payment and Settlement Systems External Publications - Access publications from external providers, including the BIS and EMEAP.

H2 2019 Retail Payment Statistics (74.1 KB) - Access statistics for selected payment systems in Singapore

FAQs on the Payment Services Act - Access the FAQs on the Payment Services Act

Repealed regulations with the commencement of the Payment Services Act - Access the repealed documents under the Money-changing and Remittance Businesses Act and Payment Systems (Oversight) Act

List of entities that have notified MAS pursuant to the Payment Services (Exemption for Specified Period) Regulations 2019

Guide to the Payment Services Act 2019 (1.8 MB)

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