PAYMENT SERVICES ACT

INTRODUCTION – PAYMENT SERVICES ACT

The Payment Services Act 2019 (“PS Act”’) which repeals the Payment Services (Oversight) Act (“PSOA”) and the Money-Changing and Remittance Business Act (“MCRBA”), was brought into force on 28 Jan 2020. MAS has also published guidelines on Licensing for Payment Service providers and a frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the act.

Regulators today recognize the integral role of non-banks. In the old days only banks were the only institutions offering financial services. Regulators wanted the act to change the fundamental thinking by introducing activity based regulations. In Europe if they want to lend money out in mortgages only reserved by the banks to do. The rest of the financial services can be performed by companies that meet relevant regulatory requirements. The acts limits on e-wallet for individuals at $5000/- cap on balances and $30,000 cap on annual outflows. The cap do not apply to banks.

Besides, Monetary Authority of Singapore Act (Cap. 186), the following acts are also monitored, regulated and licensed by Monetary Authority of Singapore. Banking Act (Cap. 19) Insurance Act (Cap. 142)

Securities and Futures Act (Cap. 289) Payment Services Act Financial Advisors Act (Cap. 110) Variable Capital Companies Act Trust Companies Act

MAS has provided the useful online resources and the information for the common public to be aware. A list of finance institutions regulated by the MAS and the activities they are authorised to provide can be accessed and verified in their website (eservices.mas.gov.sg).

A list of individuals who conduct activities regulated by MAS and who are issued the licenses can be accessed (www.mas.gov.sg).

A list of persons and entities that are unregulated and may have been wrongly perceived as being licensed or authorised by MAS and the list is available and can be accessed (www.mas.gov.sg/IAL). More than 450 list of companies are in the investor alert list for cautioning the public.

DIGITAL BANKING LICENSES

Digital Banking licenses are going to be issued during the middle of the year 2020, the digital banks which are prevalent in other jurisdictions in the world offer banking services through email, online chat, mobile app, and phone calls and are not having physical branches. A guideline has been issued by MAS under the Banking Ordinance for the licensing requirements and will be issued during the middle of the year, to commence their operations during the next year.

Digital Wallet:
A digital wallet also known as “e-Wallet” refers to an electronic device or online service that allows an individual to make electronic transactions. This can include purchasing items on-line with a computer or using a smartphone to purchase something at a store. Money can be deposited in the digital wallet prior to any transactions or, in other cases, an individual’s bank account can be linked to the digital wallet. Users might also have their driver’s license, health card, loyalty card(s) and other ID documents stored within the wallet. The credentials can be passed to a merchant’s terminal wirelessly via near field communication (NFC). Increasingly, digital wallets are being made not just for basic financial transactions but to also authenticate the holder’s credentials. For example, a digital wallet could verify the age of the buyer to the store while purchasing alcohol. The famous top 10 payment gateway are: Samsung pay, Ali pay, We chat pay, Amazon pay, Google pay, Union pay, Paynow (Singapore).

Type of License:

There are 3 types of licenses issued under the act and they are Money changing license, Standard Payment Institution license (SPI) and Major Payment Institution (MPI). Under the payment services act the following 7 activity types are defined and licenses shall be issued by MAS for carrying out the operations in Singapore. The seven activity types of license are grouped under SPI and MPI and they are Account issuance service, Domestic money transfer service, cross border money transfer service, merchant acquisition service, e-money issuance service, digital payment token service, and money changing service.

Base Capital and Security Capital Requirements:

The base capital requirement under the act for SPI license is $100,000 and for MPI license is $250,000. There are security deposit requirement before obtaining a license and for a MPI license applicant must provide security either in the form of cash or bank guarantee of $100,000 if the average, over a calendar year, of the total value of all payment transactions in one month does not exceed S$6 million for any one payment service and for all other cases $200,000.

Exemption from Applying a License:

A bank licensed under the Banking act, a merchant bank approved as a Financial Institution, a Finance Company licensed under the Finance Companies Act, a person licensed to carry on the business of issuing credit cards or charge cards and any other person or class of persons prescribed by the act are exempted under Sec. 13 of the act from the requirement of a payment service license.

Letter of Responsibility and/or Letter of Undertaking:

Where appropriate, MAS may require applicants to procure a Letter of Responsibility and/or Letter of Undertaking from the applicant’s majority shareholders, parent company and/or related company.

Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (“AML/CFT”) Requirements:

A license must comply with the AML/CFT requirements as set out in the Notices on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism [PSN01 and/or PSN02] and Notice on Reporting of Suspicious Activities & Incidents of Fraud [PSN03].

Annual Audit Requirements:

A licensee must, on an annual basis, appoint an auditor to carry out an audit of its accounts and transactions, and compliance with regulations and requirements. The licensee must ensure that the auditor submits a report to MAS in Form 4. The applicant must have in place plans to meet the annual audit requirements as set out in section 37 of the PS Act. The auditor must be appointed at the applicant’s own expense to carry out an audit of its accounts and transactions, and compliance with the relevant regulations and requirements.

Applying MAS Guidelines:

Licenses should also understand and apply the relevant MAS Guidelines such as the Guidelines on Technology Risk Management and E-payments User Protection Guidelines, and keep abreast of regulatory changes.

Control of Share Holding in Licensee:

A person must not become a 20% controller of a Licensee without first applying for and obtaining the approval of the authority. The authority will look into the persons’ ability to conduct its business prudently and comply with the provisions of the act, any other written law administered by the authority and is in the public interest. The authority has powers to remove any person for non-compliance or for misconduct under the act.

Approval of CEO, Director or Partner of Licensee:

A licensee incorporated in Singapore must not appoint an individual as its CEO or director or partner unless an application has been made and obtained the approval of the authority. The authority may refuse an application of an applicant if he has been convicted whether in Singapore or elsewhere, an offence involving fraud or dishonesty, has had execution against the individual in respect of a judgement debt or entered into a compromise or scheme of arrangement that is still in operation, has in force against the individual a prohibition order issued while he was a director in a institution that is being wound up by a court or their licenses cancelled or withdrawn by the authority.

Obligation of Operator or Settlement Institution to have place of Business Registered Office:

An operator of a designated payment system and a settlement institution, must establish a permanent place of business or Registered Office in Singapore. The Company, must appoint a person to be present on such days and such hours, to address any queries or complaints from any customer. In the permanent place of business or registered office, the license must keep or cause to be kept books of all the transactions of the business. It is also the duty of the license to inform the change of address to the authority. Section 48 elaborates various circumstances and events if it takes in the company, place must notify the authority as soon as practicable after the occurrence.

Periodic Returns:

A licensee must submit periodic regulatory returns in relation to its payment service activities and are clearly defined in the MAS Notices:

PS01:Notice on Prevention of Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism- Specified Payment Services.
PS01A:Notice on Prevention of Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism- Persons Providing Account Issuance Services who are Exempted under the Payment Services (Exemption for Specified Period) Regulations 2019.
PS02:Notice on Prevention of Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism- Digital Payment Token Service.
PS03:Notice on Reporting of Suspicious Activities and Incidents of Fraud.
PS04:Notice on submission of Statement of Transactions and Profit/Loss.
PS05:Notice on Technology Risk Management.
PS06:Notice on Cyber Hygiene.
PS07:Notice on Conduct.
PS08:Notice on Disclosures and Communications.
PS09:Notice on Specified Matters and Forms.
PS10:Notice on Prevention of Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism- Exempt Payment Service Providers.

 

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