MAS paper on regulation of payments

Facade of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) building at 10 Shenton Way.
Facade of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) building at 10 Shenton Way. PHOTO: ST FILE

Greater personal data protection and transparency about payment fees for consumers could be on the way if proposed regulatory changes, including a new National Payments Council, are accepted.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) released a consultation paper yesterday on changing the current payments regulatory framework and setting up the council.

It said: "Payment service providers around the world have been subject to cyber attacks, leaving users vulnerable to personal data leaks.

"The increasing complexity and globalisation of the payments ecosystem have also led to reduced transparency for the user as various fees and foreign exchange charges could be embedded into users' statements with minimal explanation prior to the purchase."

This prompted MAS to suggest bringing payment regulations for stored-value payments and remittances under one framework.

This will apply to issuers of stored-value facilities such as prepaid cards, remittance firms and virtual currency intermediaries.

The MAS said regulation will be applied according to the activity. A single licence will be required to undertake several payment activities, which PayPal said allows the industry players to do more.

MAS said the proposal aims to raise the standards of consumer protection, anti-money laundering, and cyber security for payment activities, while nurturing "innovation and system interoperability" .

MAS also wants the proposed payments council to promote the ease of different systems sharing data and the use of common standards.

Council members will include the users and providers of payment solutions. MAS wants industry feedback on the proposed council.

A spokesman for the Association of Banks in Singapore said the "framework enhances transparency and addresses specific risk issues, allowing for more secure payment solutions over time".

A public consultation, which started yesterday, runs until Oct 31.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 26, 2016, with the headline 'MAS paper on regulation of payments'. Subscribe