Published and draft legislation - Singapur

Greater consumer production when using electronic payment services

Payment Services Bill 48 /2018

Bill 48/2018 on payment services was submitted to Singapore's Parliament in November.

Under this law, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)* has extended and enhanced its regulatory framework, providing consumers with greater protection and generating more trust in the use of electronic payments.

Current legal framework

MAS currently regulates several types of payment services under the Payment Systems Act and the Money Exchange and Remittance Business Acts, which were passed in 2006 and 1979, respectively. Once the new law is passed, these earlier ones will be revoked and crypto payment services providers, currently beyond the scope of regulation, will have to obtain an operating license.

Furthermore, the new legal framework covers a wider range of payment services, regulating account issues, e-money issues, domestic and cross-border transfers, commercial purchases, purchase and sale of digital payment tokens and foreign exchange.

Regulatory frameworks and licenses

The law will ensure appropriate anti-money laundering and financing of terrorism controls and will create a more favorable environment for payment service innovation, thus reducing the risks along the entire value chain of payments. To that end, the Bill provides two regulatory frameworks:

  • Categories: to ensure financial stability, MAS will list and subject to surveillance those payment systems that are of systemic importance
  • Licenses: the system that will apply to retail payment service providers. There will be three different types of licenses, depending on the scope of activities carried out by payment service providers: a Money-changing license, which foreign exchange businesses must have; a Standard payment institution license and a Major payment institution license; the last two differentiate between the sum and type of transaction being undertaken.

The law affects banks, financial companies and credit card issuers** -whether these are bank cards or not- and grants a transition period before its provisions have to be met. Thus, digital token payment providers will have 6 months to adapt to the new system after the PSB comes into effect, while payment service providers in currencies other than cryptocurrencies will have 12 months to transition to the new regulations.

* Central Bank of Singapore

** Companies can be incorporated either abroad or in Singapore, provided they have a permanent place of business in the country, or at least a registered office