17 December 2020
On 30 November 2020, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (“MAS”) announced that eligible non-bank financial institutions (“NFIs”) will have direct access to the banking system’s retail payments infrastructure from February 2021. NFIs that are licenced as major payment institutions under the Payment Services Act 2019 will be allowed to connect directly to Fast and Secure Transfers (“FAST”) and PayNow.
With direct connection to FAST and PayNow, users of NFI e-wallets will be able to make real-time funds transfers between bank accounts and e-wallets as well as across different e-wallets. Businesses partnering any of the 23 FAST or nine PayNow banks, or e-wallets that have traditionally been closed-loop ecosystems, will soon be able to receive real-time payments from other e-wallets users or mobile banking applications that will be joining FAST or PayNow.
NFIs will be able to connect directly through a new Application Programming Interface (“API”) payment gateway developed by the Direct FAST Working Group (DFWG), with guidance from the Singapore Clearing House Association (SCHA) and The Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS), which govern FAST and PayNow respectively. MAS states that the API payment gateway is better geared to the banks’ and NFIs’ technology architecture, and can also be used by other banks and NFIs in the future.