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Singapore Empowering Digital Payment Security

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The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has announced significant amendments to the Payment Services Act (PS Act) and its subsidiary legislation, marking a notable expansion in the regulation of payment services and the introduction of stringent user protection measures for digital payment token (DPT) service providers.

These amendments, set to be implemented in phases starting from 4 April 2024, aim to enhance the regulatory framework in response to evolving digital payment landscapes. The amendments encompass several key areas:

Expanded Regulatory Scope: The amendments will now include activities such as custodial services for DPTs, the transmission of DPTs between accounts, and cross-border money transfers under the regulatory purview of MAS, even if the service provider does not physically handle the funds or tokens.

Imposition of Requirements: MAS will be empowered to impose regulatory requirements concerning anti-money laundering (AML) and countering the financing of terrorism (CFT), user protection, and financial stability on DPT service providers, ensuring robust safeguards for consumers and the financial system.

Transitional Arrangements: Entities currently engaged in activities falling under the expanded scope of the PS Act are provided with transitional arrangements. They must notify MAS within 30 days and submit a license application within six months from 4 April 2024. Additionally, they must furnish an attestation report from a qualified external auditor within nine months, demonstrating compliance with AML/CFT requirements.

Safeguarding of Customer Assets: The amended Payment Services Regulations will mandate DPT service providers to implement measures for safeguarding customers’ assets, including segregation in trust accounts, proper record-keeping, and robust security protocols to protect customers’ assets.

These amendments reflect MAS’s commitment to ensuring the integrity, security, and stability of Singapore’s payment ecosystem amidst the increasing adoption of digital payment technologies. By establishing comprehensive regulatory measures and enhancing user protection standards, MAS aims to foster trust and confidence among consumers and promote innovation and growth in the digital payment sector.

MAS is dedicated to ensuring a secure digital payments environment in Singapore, aiming to prevent fraud and enhance trust among individuals and businesses. Through proactive regulatory measures, oversight, and collaboration with industry stakeholders, MAS strives to create an ecosystem where consumers and businesses can conduct transactions confidently, knowing their interests are safeguarded against cyber threats and financial fraud.

As financial services undergo rapid digitisation, MAS prioritises addressing emerging risks and staying ahead of evolving cyber threats. Through proactive supervision and strategic initiatives, MAS aims to foster trust and resilience in Singapore’s digital payments ecosystem, promoting innovation, growth, and economic prosperity.

OpenGov Asia reported that MAS introduced COSMIC, a pioneering centralised digital platform aimed at facilitating the exchange of customer information among financial institutions (FIs) worldwide. This initiative, aligned with the Financial Services and Markets (Amendment) Act 2023, is designed to combat money laundering, terrorism financing, and proliferation financing, bolstering the financial system’s defences against illicit activities.

COSMIC operates on the principle of sharing customer information based on predefined indicators of suspicion, enabling FIs to promptly identify and report potentially illicit activities for more informed risk assessments and proactive measures.

Developed in collaboration with major commercial banks in Singapore, COSMIC underscores the industry’s commitment to leveraging technology and collaboration to combat financial crime effectively. As COSMIC enters its operational phase, ongoing refinement and collaboration will ensure its effectiveness in upholding transparency, integrity, and resilience in Singapore’s financial sector.

By emphasising cybersecurity, fraud prevention, and consumer protection, MAS aims to strengthen Singapore’s position as a global financial hub and a trusted destination for digital payments, enabling individuals and businesses to navigate the digital landscape with confidence.


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