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Singapore to streamline rules to strengthen consumer protection as it moves to an e-payments society: MAS

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Singapore will streamline regulation to strengthen consumer protection as it moves towards an electronic payments society, said Ravi Menon, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

SINGAPORE will streamline regulation to strengthen consumer protection as it moves towards an electronic payments society, said Ravi Menon, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

"Our vision is to make Singapore an electronic payments society," he said on Friday at a fintech (financial technology) seminar. A society that spurs continuous innovation in payments technology; that gives consumers maximum convenience and confidence in making payments; that enables firms to increase productivity through payments integrated with business processes; and where swift, simple, and secure payments is a reality for everyone.

Mr Menon outlined four key strategies to create an e-payments society: streamlined regulation; inclusive governance; interoperable infrastructure; and pervasive digitisation.

The existing regulatory framework for payments cuts across the Money-Changing and Remittance Businesses Act (MCRBA) and the Payment Systems (Oversight) Act (PSOA), he said.

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"Every month, MAS meets many FinTech firms that do not fit neatly into categories like remittance or stored value.

"It is not efficient for companies to be regulated under two pieces of legislation, which were not written with the FinTech solutions of today in mind," he said.

The nature of risk in the payments ecosystem is also changing, and the proliferation of innovative e-payment solutions and the rise of e-commerce, payment firms have become more enticing targets for cyber criminals, he said.

MAS will therefore update its regulatory framework, and it will streamline the MCRBA and PSOA to create a single piece of legislation governing both traditional and innovative payment companies.

"We will enhance the provisions for consumer protection and strengthen cyber security requirements.

"We will make regulation modular and activity-based, so that firms need to meet only those regulations pertinent to the specific payment activities they undertake, rather than the full gamut of payments regulations," he said.

Under the new framework, providers of payment services will require only one licence to conduct multiple payment activities.

"Users of payment services - consumers or businesses - can take more comfort that their financial information is safe from the threat of cyber-attacks and theft," he said.

MAS will also put in place a Payments Council that brings together different stakeholders to guide the development of Singapore's payments landscape in a coherent way, he said.

The Council will help to align payment initiatives with national strategies and public interest. Specifically, this means to develop common payments infrastructure; promote open access and inter-operability in payments solutions; enhance the quality of payments systems through the adoption of relevant standards and best practices; and make electronic payments accessible to all.

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