News

27 February Filing Deadline for Temporary Payment Services Licence Exemptions

Jan 09 2020 | by OrionW

Time to read: 3 minutes

Singapore’s Payment Services Act 2019 (No. 2 of 2019) (PS Act) will become effective on 28 January 2020.  Companies intending to provide payment services in Singapore on or after that date will need either a PS Act licence or an exemption from the requirement to hold a licence.

The PS Act offers temporary licence exemptions to companies that provide eligible payment services before the PS Act becomes effective.  The exemptions allow companies to continue to provide those services without interruption while they apply for a licence.  To qualify for an exemption, a company must notify the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) of the date on which it began to offer its service.  Companies must notify MAS between 28 January and 27 February 2020 using MAS's online form

If a company provides an eligible payment service before the PS Act becomes effective but fails to qualify for an exemption, it must stop providing that service until it obtains the necessary PS Act licence.

The following payment services are eligible for temporary exemptions:

  • Account issuance services (for example, opening new accounts)
  • Domestic money transfer services (transferring money between payers and payees in Singapore)
  • Cross-border money transfer services (but limited to companies that only provide inbound transfers of money from a payer outside Singapore to a payee in Singapore; see below for a discussion of outbound transfers)
  • Merchant acquisition services (processing payments for merchants that result in transfers of money to them)
  • E-money issuance services (but limited to companies with a total e-money float of less than S$30 million (or its equivalent in a foreign currency))
  • Digital payment token services (buying or selling, or facilitating the exchange of, digital payment tokens)

The exemption period for digital payment token services is 6 months beginning on 28 January 2020 and 12 months from that date for all other eligible services.  However, if a company applies for a licence within the applicable exemption period, the exemption will continue until MAS approves or refuses the application.

The payment services not eligible for temporary exemptions are outbound cross-border money transfer services, money-changing services and e-money issuance services if the total float exceeds S$30 million.  The first two of those services are currently regulated under the Money-Changing and Remittance Business Act (Chapter 187) and the third under the Payment Systems (Oversight) Act (Chapter 222A).  Those Acts will be repealed when the PS Act becomes effective.  Companies providing those services before the PS Act becomes effective should already hold the necessary licences or approvals under those Acts and, if so, will be eligible for transitional licences under the PS Act.

[updated 28 January 2020]

For More Information

OrionW regularly advises FinTech clients on payment services regulation and licensing matters.  For more information about the Payment Services Act, or if you have questions about this article, please contact us at info@orionw.com.

Disclaimer: This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice.