MAS orders Wirecard to cease credit card and other payment services in Singapore

Credit card payments at merchants using Wirecard SG's services, as well as the usage of pre-paid cards issued by the firm, will be affected.
Credit card payments at merchants using Wirecard SG's services, as well as the usage of pre-paid cards issued by the firm, will be affected.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has directed Wirecard entities here to cease their payment services in Singapore, it announced on Wednesday (Sept 30).

It added that these entities have to return all customers' funds by Oct 14.

"MAS has been monitoring the impact of Wirecard AG's insolvency on the ability of Wirecard SG to continue providing payment services in Singapore," it said.

"MAS has also closely engaged Wirecard SG in recent months to safeguard the interest of Wirecard SG's customers. This includes requiring Wirecard SG to keep customers' funds in banks in Singapore and to assist customers to switch to alternative service providers."

Wirecard, a German digital payments company, filed for bankruptcy in June after disclosing that €1.9 billion (S$3 billion) of cash, supposed to be in bank accounts in the Philippines, did not exist.

Singapore is home to Wirecard’s Asia-Pacific headquarters at Pasir Panjang.

Last year, the police raided Wirecard’s office here after an employee alleged that a member of the company’s finance team engaged in accounting breaches.

MAS noted that Wirecard SG told the authority that it was unable to continue providing payment processing services to a significant number of merchants.

Hence, MAS assessed that it was in the interest of the public for Wirecard SG to cease its payments services and promptly return all customers' funds.



Wirecard's primary business activities in Singapore were to process payments for merchants and help firms issue pre-paid cards. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

"This provides the greatest certainty to customers on their appropriate course of action, including seeking alternative service providers," it said.

It added that credit card payments at merchants using Wirecard SG's services, as well as the usage of pre-paid cards issued by the firm, would be affected.

 
 
 

Other forms of e-payments such as Nets, PayNow and SGQR will continue to be available.

The MAS also encouraged customers who have not yet made alternative arrangements to do so promptly, and for merchants to look to other payment processing service providers.

Banks such as DBS, United Overseas Bank and OCBC provide merchant acquisition services, besides other providers like Nets.

Wirecard's primary business activities in Singapore were to process payments for merchants and help firms issue pre-paid cards. Entities under Wirecard are not currently licensed by MAS.

The Payment Services (Exemption for Specified Period) Regulations 2019, which were made under the Payment Services Act 2019, provide a grace period ranging from six months to a year for firms providing certain regulated payment services to apply for the relevant licence.

During this grace period, such firms may provide the regulated payment service without a licence and the MAS may issue directions to them.

 
 

The Act regulates the provision of payment services in Singapore and came into force on Jan 28 this year.

Payment services regulated under the Act include new ones such as merchant acquisition services, and services which were already under previous legislation, such as money-changing and cross-border money transfer services.