MAS seeks further public feedback on proposed payments regulatory framework

MAS seeks further public feedback on proposed payments regulatory framework

SINGAPORE: The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Tuesday (Nov 21) launched a second public consultation on its proposed Payment Services Bill.

This follows its call for public feedback on the scope of the proposed payments regulatory framework last year.

In a statement on Tuesday, MAS said the new Bill aims to streamline the regulation of payment services under a single piece of legislation.

It also aims to expand the scope of payment services that will be regulated under the new Bill to include those such as domestic money transfers, for example transferring money through payment kiosks, merchant acquisition and the purchase and sale of virtual currencies.

New payment services such as virtual currencies fall outside existing regulations, the regulator added in its consultation paper. It warned that consumers and merchants using these new payment services could be exposed to risks.

When the new Bill is enacted, payment companies will only need to hold one license to carry out any of the specified payment services, the authority said.

Only payment activities that deal with consumers and merchants, process funds or acquire transactions and pose regulatory concerns will need to be licensed.

As different payment services have different levels of risk, MAS said that it will not apply a uniform set of rules surrounding risk to all payment firms.

Instead, it will differentiate regulatory requirements based on the risks posed by the particular payment service to help "ensure that the expanded scope of regulation is not onerous".

The Bill will empower the authoirty to regulate payment services for money-laundering and terrorism financing risks, strengthen safeguards for funds belonging to consumers and merchants, set standards on technology risk management and enhance "interoperability of payment solutions" across a wider range of payment activities, MAS added.

MAS said it was also proposing that larger service providers open up their systems to each other so that consumers get a simpler and more seamless experience.

"We want to put in place a forward-looking regulatory regime to encourage wider adoption of secure e-payment solutions," said MAS' managing director Ravi Menon.

The new "activity-based" licensing framework will aim to "right-size" regulatory requirements to address the risks posed by specific payment activities, he added.

"This will help to protect consumers and merchants while creating an environment conducive for innovation in payment services.”

The public consultation runs from Tuesday to Jan 8, 2018 and a copy of the consultation paper is available on MAS' website.

Source: CNA/nc