Payments License - Singapore

About Singapore

Singapore has been a proponent of financial technology (fintech) innovation. The Malaysian Securities Commission (MAS) has launched initiatives such as the regulatory sandbox, which allows fintech companies to test their ideas in a regulated environment. The country has also enacted fintech-friendly policies and encourages the expansion of the fintech sector.

Singapore provides banking and payment service providers with a variety of licencing choices, including a Major Payment Institution (MPI) Licence, a Standard Payment Institution (SPI) Licence, and a Money-Changing Licence. This enables businesses to select the licence type that best fits their company model and intended payment services.

Singapore is a Southeast Asian country with one 30-mile-long island (Pulau Ujong, or mainland Singapore) surrounded by 62 smaller islands. Malaysia to the north and Indonesia to the south are the country’s neighbours.

According to Worldometer’s elaboration of the most recent United Nations data, Singapore’s current population is 5,982,988 as of May 24, 2023.

As the majority of Singaporeans have Chinese ancestors, Mandarin is the official Chinese language.

Singapore is a republic with a Westminster-style parliamentary system of government. Singapore’s legal system has changed over time and may be traced back to the English legal system.

1. Established Financial Hub

Singapore is a worldwide financial centre with a solid reputation for stability, openness, and regulatory excellence. Having a Singapore payments licence helps boost your company’s legitimacy and reputation, fostering trust and confidence among customers and business partners.

2. Access to a Thriving Market

Singapore provides access to a thriving and dynamic market. The country boasts a robust financial ecosystem, a high level of digital penetration, and a sizable population of tech-savvy customers. With a payments licence, you can enter this industry and provide payment services to a diverse spectrum of potential consumers.

3. Regulatory Credibility

Singapore’s Monetary Authority (MAS) is well-known for its strong and forward-thinking regulatory system. By acquiring a MAS payments licence, you demonstrate compliance with tough regulatory criteria, which can boost your company’s brand and build trust in customers and partners.

4. Wide Range of Payment Services

A Singapore payments licence allows you to provide a variety of payment services, including domestic and cross-border financial transfers, e-wallet services, card payments, merchant acquisition, remittance services, and more. This enables you to meet a wide range of consumer needs and generate many revenue streams

5. Fintech Support and Innovation

Singapore is dedicated to supporting fintech innovation and has launched efforts to help the fintech industry grow. Having a payments licence allows your company to take advantage of Singapore’s fintech-friendly climate, gain access to finance, and interact with other industry players.

6. International Connectivity

Singapore is well-connected globally, both financially and through regulatory collaboration. Having a Singapore payments licence can ease cross-border transactions and cooperation, allowing you to expand your firm regionally or internationally.

7. Strong Regulatory Support

Payment service companies are actively regulated by MAS. They provide counsel, engage in communication, and provide updates on regulatory developments to assist firms in remaining compliant and navigating an ever-changing world. MAS also promotes open contact with stakeholders in the industry, establishing a collaborative regulatory environment.

8. Trusted Infrastructure and Technology

Singapore has a strong and secure payment and financial infrastructure. The country has invested in modern technology, cybersecurity measures, and digital infrastructure to ensure a dependable and resilient payment environment.

9. Cross-Sector Collaboration

Singapore promotes collaboration among several industries, including banking, technology, and government organisations. This allows payment service providers to work with banks, technology companies, and other stakeholders to drive innovation and create new opportunities.

10. Regulatory Sandboxes and Pilots

To enable the testing and deployment of novel payment systems, MAS provides regulatory sandboxes and pilot programmes. This enables licenced payment companies to test innovative technologies and business models in a safe environment, lowering time-to-market and regulatory uncertainty.


License: International Bank License
Timeframe for Approval: 3 to 4 months
Regulator: Monetary Authority of Singapore

Company Structure

Local Director: At least one director
Local Shareholder: At least one shareholder
Local Registered Office: Required
Local Staff: Required
Compliance Officer: Required
AML/KYC: Required
Audit: Required
Economic Substance: Required
Corporate Tax Rate: 17%
Currency: Singapore Dollar
Minimum Paid-up Capital: S$250,000
Capital Requirement: S$100,000
Tax Structure: 0% Tax on Offshore Profits
  1. Prepare the Application
  2. Fit and Proper Criteria
  3. Incorporate a Company
  4. Submit the Application
  5. Application Review
  6. Evaluation and Approval
  7. Compliance with Conditions
  8. Grant of License
  1. Domestic and Cross-Border Fund Transfers
  2. E-Wallet Services
  3. Merchant Acquisition
  4. Card Payments
  5. Money-Changing Services
  6. Remittance Services
  7. Peer-to-Peer Payments
  8. Mobile Payments
  9. Virtual Currency Services

1. Business Incorporation

You must first incorporate a company in Singapore before applying for a payment licence. This includes registering the firm with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) and adhering to the applicable company registration regulations.

2. Fit and Proper Criteria

The payment licence applicant’s directors, executive officers, and substantial shareholders must meet MAS’s fit and proper criteria. This involves exhibiting good character, honesty, competence, and significant financial industry expertise.

3. Business Plan

Make a detailed business strategy outlining your intended payment services, target market, business model, risk management system, and financial projections. The business strategy should illustrate your payment company’s feasibility and durability.

4. Compliance Framework

Create a strong compliance framework that includes rules and processes to ensure that anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorism financing (CTF) regulations are followed. Implementing client due diligence methods, transaction monitoring systems, and reporting suspicious activity are all part of this.

5. Technology and Security

Create the necessary technology infrastructure and security measures to protect consumer data, prevent fraud, and ensure the integrity and confidentiality of payment transactions. This includes putting in place safeguards for secure data transmission, access controls, encryption, and performing frequent system audits.

6. Capital Requirements

Depending on the type of payment licence, the particular capital requirements differ. To ensure the financial soundness of payment service providers, MAS establishes minimum capital requirements. You must show that you have adequate financial means to run the payment firm.

7. Governance and Internal Controls

Establish strong governance structures and internal controls inside your organisation to ensure proper supervision, risk management, and compliance. A defined organisational structure, established policies and processes, and adequate board and management oversight are all required.

8. Risk Management

Create a comprehensive risk management framework that addresses operational, financial, and regulatory concerns. This includes identifying and assessing risks, putting risk mitigation measures in place, and putting in place strong internal controls.

9. MAS Application and Fees

Submit a comprehensive application via the MASNET online application system. All required supporting documentation and application fees should be included in the application.

  1. Incorporation of offshore corporation
  2. Arrange for local registered officer and local directors, if required
  3. Draft corporate bylaws, minutes and owner share issuances
  4. Establishment of corporate bank account suitable for forex operations
  5. Establishment of merchant service account for accepting credit and debit cards
  6. Draft requisite business plan, financial statements and financial projections
  7. Draft requisite Anti-Money Laundering & Know-Your-Customer policies
  8. Arrange for requisite surety bond
  9. Prepare and process application for Vanuatu International Bank License
  10. Representation before licensing regulatory authority, banks and liquidity providers