Singapore's central bank sets out strategies for electronic payments

Kareyst Lin

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) articulated strategies to promote electronic payments in Singapore, and has published a "Singapore Payments Roadmap" which it has commissioned KPMG Advisory to produce.

More than 2,500 stakeholders in Singapore's payment ecosystem and across the world were surveyed to understand the current state of payments. The focus was on how consumers and businesses make payments.

KPMG then outlined several steps that could be taken by Singapore to improve the landscape, according to a press release (19 August 2016): 

1. Streamline and strengthen the regulatory framework

The current regulatory regime governing payments and remittances can be streamlined to create a single and modular regime. The regime is to be applied on an activity basis, rather than specific payment systems.

The new payments regime will provide MAS the flexibility to address emerging risk areas like cyber security and consumer protection. This new framework will help to promote innovation and encourage non-traditional FinTech players to access the Singapore market and provide a wider spectrum of payment solutions. 

2. Establish a new governance model for payments 

The governance model can be strengthened, and a national payments council created to foster innovation, competition and collaboration in the payments industry, including leveraging FinTech. 

Specifically, the payments council will coordinate initiatives, such as promoting interoperability and adopting common standards. The council will comprise of representatives from among users and providers of payment solutions. 

This new payments council could provide greater coordination and alignment among payment initiatives for consumers and businesses, at a national level. 

3. Enhance the adoption of electronic payments 

The report welcomes several key infrastructure projects that are undertaken by the industry. These projects have the potential to transform the payment landscape for recurring, retail and peer-to-peer payments, with the implementation of interoperable solutions. 

These include enabling more convenient payments through a centralised addressing system and creating a seamless consumer experience with unified point-of-sale payment terminals.

MAS will be conducting a public consultation on the review of the payments regulatory framework and the proposed payments council this week.