MAS accelerates payment service license backlog

After a slow start in processing applications for Payment Service licenses, the MAS has now processed close to 60% of exempted entities. In releasing its latest figures, the Singapore regulator highlighted that the time taken for approvals was down to scrutiny of risk management controls. Anyone looking to apply should take heed and ensure control frameworks are clear and robust before submission.

A parliamentary question published on 4th April 2022 provided more insight into how the MAS is getting on with processing these applications and shows substantial progress.

As part of the transitional arrangements for the implementation of the Payment Services Act, entities that were engaged in regulated activities before the commencement of the Act were exempt from holding a licence if they submitted the respective licence applications.

Out of the 580 licences received, 415 were made within the period of transitional arrangements and have been granted exemptions from licensing until their licence applications are approved/rejected/withdrawn.

The MAS has made significant progress in reviewing these applications. Out of the 415 entities who fall under the exemptions, 87 have been approved, 11 were rejected, 147 were withdrawn and 170 are still in processing and remain exempt. The MAS published the list of entities currently exempt here and the list of entities who are no longer exempt here.

The MAS highlighted that the delay was due to scrutiny of the quality of applications and the risk management systems and controls of applicants.

Before submitting any application, it’s worth a review to identify potential issues which the MAS may target. For example, are your business plans sufficiently concrete and in line with the MAS’s expectations. Could there be conflicts of interest which you have not identified? Spending some extra time reviewing your application before it is submitted could save a lot more time in waiting for it to be processed.

We can help

Bovill has clients in the payment services industry in Singapore and across the globe; and we’re available to support applications for all licence types.  Our specialist team can help set up your compliance framework, including drafting of compliance policies and procedures which are fit for purpose for a payment services business, and once you obtain your license, provide ongoing compliance support and monitoring.

Further reading:

  1. Reply to Parliamentary Question on Digital Payment Token Service Provider Applicants – 28 July 2021
  2. Reply to Parliamentary Question on Licence Exemptions under the Payment Services Act – 04 April 2022

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