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MAS may force large banks to open payment rails for interoperability

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MAS on Tuesday proposed to hold powers to force large banks in Singapore to open up their payment rails to competitors and third-party players to ensure that large payment systems are compatible with other payment systems.

THE Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Tuesday proposed to hold powers to force large banks in Singapore to open up their payment rails to competitors and third-party players to ensure that large payment systems are compatible with other payment systems.

This "access regime", together with the use of common standards and a common platform, is meant to ensure interoperability.

The proposed requirement was found in the second consultation on its new regulatory framework for payments that it made public. The new Payment Services Bill is set to replace the existing payments regime, by regulating payment entities according to their activities and the ensuing risks.

"We may need to impose interoperability measures on certain payment service providers when they reach certain scale in order to reduce fragmentation and enhance confidence in acceptance of e-payments," it said in the consultation paper.

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"If key customer facing payment services do not interoperate, consumers will not have a simple and standardised experience - which is important to promote growth and development of the e-payments ecosystem."

MAS added that such powers will be imposed only when the circumstances call for the need for it to exercise interoperability powers under the Act.

MAS has also proposed that companies offering virtual currency services should hold a payment licence, noting that virtual currencies pose anti-money laundering and terrorism financing risks.

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