The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), which is the regulatory authority overseeing financial matters in Singapore, issued a consultation paper on 25 August 2016 setting out proposed changes to the payments regulatory framework in Singapore together with the proposed establishment of a National Payments Council.

In a response to the lines between payments and remittance being blurred by technical innovation and the increasing number of payment providers that do not fit neatly into either of these categories, MAS is proposing to consolidate its regulation of both payments and remittance into a single framework. Currently, such services are split across the Payment Systems (Oversight) Act and the Money-changing and Remittance Businesses Act.

MAS has confirmed that the new single framework will provide for licensing, regulation and supervision of all payment services, including stored value facility holders, remittance companies and virtual currency intermediaries. The new framework is likely to be applied on an activity basis with entities being required to apply for a single licence to undertake several payment activities.

It is hoped that this proposed new regulatory framework will help strengthen standards of consumer protection, anti-money laundering and cyber security whilst also taking into account the recent FinTech innovations in the payment services sector.

MAS is also proposing to establish a National Payments Council whose membership will be derived from users and providers of payment solutions. MAS has said that the National Payments Council will be responsible for coordinating key initiatives such as promoting interoperability and adopting common standards across payment solutions such as cheques, fund transfers, credit and debit cards, stored value facilities etc.

Responses to this consultation must be submitted by 31 October 2016. A copy of the consultation paper can be found on the MAS website.