MAS Mulling Digital-Only Banking License for FinTech Companies

Currently only licensed financial firms can offer a digital-only service for customers in Singapore

The Monetary Authority of Singapore is apparently mulling the creation of a digital-only banking license for financial technology companies.

Since 2000, banks licensed in Singapore have been able to open up subsidiaries that can attempt to build digital-only services.

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And, speaking to a reporter at Business Times, a MAS representative said that many of these firms already offer an array of digital solutions to meet customer needs.

But the Singaporean regulator also acknowledged that some companies – which don’t have a background in financial services – are also now offering beneficial products to customers.

“Banks are not alone in harnessing digitalisation,” a MAS representative said. “Technology and other non-bank firms have been making large digital strides, and they have brought substantive value to their customers in doing so.”

New license

With that being the case, it seems that the regulator is weighing up creating a new license for digital-only financial services companies that aren’t owned by banks.

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“MAS is studying whether to admit such digital-only banks with non-bank parentage,” continued the representative. “We have been engaging relevant stakeholders to ascertain the unique value that such entrants could bring to our banking landscape, and understand how potential risks will be managed and contained.”

Digital-only banking services have taken off across the world over the past couple of years.

The UK has been at the center of this trend, with mobile-only banks such as Monzo, Revolut and Starling Bank attracting millions of customers in Britain and the European Union.

Singaporean authorities have yet to allow similar firms to set up shop in the city-state but, if that is to change, we can expect Revolut copy cats to emerge there very soon.



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