Payment Systems

Payment systems may be designated under the Payment Services Act ("PS Act") for closer supervision if they play a critical role in the safety and efficiency of the financial system. 

Payment Systems Designated Under Payment Services Act

A payment system may be designated under the PS Act if it is considered a systemically important payment system (SIPS) or a system-wide important payment system (SWIPS), or where it is otherwise in the public interest to do so:

(a) SIPS are systems whose disruption could trigger, cause or transmit further disruption to participants or cause systemic disruption to the financial system of Singapore.  The MAS Electronic Payment System (MEPS+) is a SIPS in Singapore.  All SIPS are subject to the Principles for Financial Market Infrastructures (PFMI).

(b) SWIPS are systems whose disruption could affect public confidence in payment systems or the financial system of Singapore.  Although a disruption or failure in these systems may have system-wide implications and may affect many users, there is negligible risk of systemic impact to financial stability.  The following systems are considered SWIPS.

Automated Clearing House (ACH) Systems
Fast and Secure Transfers (FAST)
FAST is an electronic funds transfer service that enables customers of the participating entities to transfer Singapore Dollar funds from one entity to another in Singapore almost instantly. Some participating banks may also offer collection of payment via FAST.

The system was launched on 17 March 2014. ISO20022 message standard has been adopted as the payment messaging standard between the FAST participating banks and the ACH.

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Singapore Dollar Cheque Clearing System and US Dollar Cheque Clearing System

In July 2003, banks in Singapore migrated to a new cheque clearing system, known as the Cheque Truncation System (CTS).  CTS originated as an initiative from the ACH and the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) to enhance the operational efficiencies of the banking industry.  CTS is the world's first nation-wide end-to-end cheque truncation system, leveraging on advanced imaging and internet technologies to capture cheque images at the point of deposit and transmitting the images over a secured communication network.  Please refer to the ABS for more information on CTS.

In September 2002, MAS amended the Bills of Exchange Act and issued the Bills of Exchange (Cheque Truncation) Regulations 2002 to facilitate the establishment of CTS.

Both Singapore Dollar (SGD) denominated cheques and United States Dollar (USD) denominated cheques presented to, and drawn on banks in Singapore, are cleared through CTS. 


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Inter-bank GIRO (IBG) System

IBG System allows customers of an IBG participating bank to transfer funds through direct debits and credits, to the accounts of other IBG participating banks.  Previously, it involved the exchange of magnetic media containing payment instructions from the participating banks via ACH.


In July 2001, the ACH eliminated the manual delivery of magnetic tapes between participating banks and itself.  Participating banks send and receive IBG items electronically via a secured communication network.  Clearing cycles for the direct credit and debit transactions were also shortened significantly.

In March 2015, the IBG System adopted the ISO 20022 message standard as the payment messaging standard between the participating banks and the ACH.

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NETS Electronic Fund Transfers at Point of Sale (EFTPOS)

Network for Electronic Transfers (Singapore) Pte Ltd (NETS) was founded in 1985 to establish Singapore’s national PIN debit scheme, NETS EFTPOS. NETS is the EFTPOS scheme operator, processor and the acquirer of the service. 

The transactions settled via NETS EFTPOS are mainly higher volume lower value retail payment transactions. The participants of the NETS EFTPOS scheme are banks in Singapore. These participants are also issuers of the NETS EFTPOS pin-debit card.

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Payment System Subject to Cooperative Oversight

Where relevant and practical, MAS seeks to participate in the cooperative oversight of cross-border payment systems which may affect the stability of the financial system of Singapore. 

MAS recognises that cooperative oversight between authorities helps to foster consistent and transparent communications between authorities and the cross border payment system, enhance transparency among the participating authorities and avoid subjecting the cross border payment system to conflicting regulation.

The Continuous Linked Settlement (CLS) is a global payment system that MAS oversees via a cooperative oversight arrangement.

Continuous Linked Settlement (CLS)

CLS is a global multi-currency settlement system that aims to eliminate foreign exchange (FX) settlement risk due to time-zone differences. The CLS settlement service, provided by CLS Bank, allows both legs of a FX trade submitted by members to be settled simultaneously across the books of CLS Bank and therefore guarantees finality and irrevocability of the settlements.

CLS went live in September 2002 and initially settled FX transactions in seven major currencies - the Australian Dollar, Canadian Dollar, Euro, Japanese Yen, Pound Sterling, Swiss Franc and US Dollar. The Singapore Dollar (SGD) was included in CLS in September 2003, together with the Danish Krone, Norwegian Krone and Swedish Krona. As a result, FX trades involving SGD and other CLS currencies can be settled in CLS without exposure to FX settlement risks.

Three local banks - DBS Bank Ltd, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Ltd and United Overseas Bank Ltd, who are CLS shareholders - started settling their eligible FX trades through CLS Bank in December 2002. For efficiency, the three banks have established Clearing & Payment Services Pte Ltd (CAPS), a common clearing utility, to process their CLS transactions.


CLS is regulated and supervised by the Federal Reserve in the US as an Edge corporation. The US Federal Reserve also chairs the CLS Oversight Committee (OC), in which MAS participates along with other central banks. The CLS OC provides a mechanism for central banks whose currencies are settled in CLS to carry out their individual oversight responsibilities.

The US Federal Reserve organises and administers the CLS OC, which operates in accordance with the Protocol for Cooperative Oversight of CLS (Protocol). The Protocol was adopted by the CLS OC to avoid duplication of effort by the central banks, foster consistent, transparent communications between the central banks and CLS, and enhance transparency among the participating central banks regarding the development and implication of international and domestic policies applicable to CLS.

CLS is a designated payment system under the Payment and Settlement Systems (Finality and Netting) Act 2002


Protocol for Cooperative Oversight of CLS