Singapore: Next step in Singapore’s payments journey

17 July 2017

This article has been produced with Holborn Law, which operates in association with CMS.

As Singapore moves towards a Smart Nation and a cashless society, our electronic payments system has also developed to allow consumers to send and receive money easily. The most recent development in this journey is PayNow, which allows bank customers to transfer funds using only the recipient’s mobile number or Singapore NRIC/FIN.

Technology has transformed the way Singaporeans use financial services, and surveys show that 94% of Singaporeans have used mobile and internet banking to access their bank accounts. In addition, one in five consumers in South-East Asia use digital wallets, with Singapore being the top adopter in the region.

Electronic payments are becoming more common, and Unified Point-of-Sale (UPOS) terminals are being used at major supermarkets across Singapore. Even traditionally cash-based hawker centres are catching up to this trend, and some are undergoing a trial to accept contactless cards or QR codes which customers can scan with their phones to make payments.

MAS is also reviewing the regulatory framework for payments, and it recently proposed an activity-based regulatory regime for payments that will align requirements to the specific payment activities undertaken by businesses. It will be interesting to see how new developments such as PayNow will shape the industry feedback MAS receives on this proposal as well as the second round of public consultation.

In addition, stakeholders in the payments ecosystem also have the opportunity to chart Singapore’s epayments journey, as MAS has also established a Payments Council under its leadership, which will function as a forum for the payments industry and businesses to discuss payment strategies and cross-cutting issues, and promote inter-operable payment solutions.

With the recent launch of PayNow, transferring funds is not only fast and secure, but also convenient and efficient. PayNow rides on existing infrastructure used by Fast and Secure Transfers (FAST), which allows customers of 19 participating banks to make interbank fund transfers almost immediately and at no cost.

Before PayNow, under FAST, transferring funds was almost immediate, but transferors need to know the recipient’s bank and account number. There is also no need for PayNow users to have a mobile wallet, which is required by existing solutions such as DBS’ PayLah!.

Looking ahead, PayNow will soon also be introduced for transactions between individuals and businesses, and there is also potential for it to be implemented across South-East Asia. Making payments convenient, fast and secure is a key component in Singapore’s goal to become a Smart Nation, and PayNow is a step in the right direction. We are hopeful that the uptake of PayNow will be swift amongst Singaporeans, and that there will be continued innovations in the payments space in the near future.

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Agency Database

  • Austrian National Bank
    Term:
    Austrian National Bank
    Other Names:
    Oesterreichische Nationalbank (ONB/OeNB)
    Definition:
    Contributes on a stability-oriented monetary policy; safeguards financial sability; provides general public and the busines community with high quality cash. The competent authority for the authorisation and supervision of payment institutions (article 20).
    Area:
    Banking
    Type:
    Regulator
    Country:
    Austria
    URL:
    http://www.oenb.at/en/
  • Bank of England (BoE)
    Term:
    Bank of England (BoE)
    Other Names:
    Definition:
    Area:
    Banking
    Type:
    Policy Maker
    Country:
    UK
    URL:
    http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/Pages/home.aspx
  • Bank of France
    Term:
    Bank of France
    Other Names:
    Banque de France
    Definition:
    Monitors and regulates the banking market. Competent authority for the authorisation and supervision of payment institutions (specifically within the Bank La comité des établissements de credit et des entreprises d'investissement and La Commission bancaire).
    Area:
    Banking
    Type:
    Regulator
    Country:
    France
    URL:
    http://www.banque-france.fr/accueil.html
  • Bank of Greece
    Term:
    Bank of Greece
    Other Names:
    Definition:
    Responsible for implementing the Eurosystem's monetary policy in Greece and safeguarding the stability of the Greek financial system.The competent authority for the authorization and supervision of payment institutions.
    Area:
    Banking
    Type:
    Regulator
    Country:
    Greece
    URL:
    http://www.bankofgreece.gr/Pages/en/default.aspx
  • Bank of Italy
    Term:
    Bank of Italy
    Other Names:
    Banca d’Italia
    Definition:
    Central bank: banking and financial supervision. The competent authority for the authorisation and supervision of payment institutions (article 20).
    Area:
    Banking
    Type:
    Regulator
    Country:
    Italy
    URL:
    http://www.bancaditalia.it/;internal&action=_setlanguage.action?LANGUAGE=en
  • Bank of Portugal
    Term:
    Bank of Portugal
    Other Names:
    Banco de Portugal
    Definition:
    Area:
    Banking
    Type:
    Regulator
    Country:
    Portugal
    URL:
    http://www.bportugal.pt/en-US/Pages/inicio.aspx
  • Bank of Slovenia
    Term:
    Bank of Slovenia
    Other Names:
    Banka Slovenije (BSI)
    Definition:
    This is the central bank of the Republic of Slovenia. It implements the common monetary policy; co-manages the official foreign reserves of the monetary system; promotes smooth operation of payment systems. It is also the competent authority for the authorisation and supervision of payment institutions (banks, credit institutions) and it maintains accounts for Republic of Slovenia, government bodies and public entities.
    Area:
    Banking
    Type:
    Regulator
    Country:
    Slovenia
    URL:
    http://www.bsi.si/en/
  • Bank of Spain
    Term:
    Bank of Spain
    Other Names:
    Banco de Espana
    Definition:
    Central bank. The competent authority for the supervision of payment institutions (note the competent authority for the authorization of payment institutions is the Spanish Ministry of Finance).
    Area:
    Banking
    Type:
    Regulator
    Country:
    Spain
    URL:
    http://www.bde.es/bde/en/

Future Dates

* Estimated date

  • 7 September 2017

    Deadline for responses to FCA's CP17/19: MiFID II implementation – Consultation Paper VI.

  • 7 September 2017

    The PRA's rules on whistleblowers in non-EEA UK branches (PRA policy statement PS8/17) enter into force on this date.

  • *Summer 2017

    It is expected that ESMA will publish thematic reviews regarding supervisory convergence and Capital Markets Union during this period.