CARDS & PAYMENTS | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Singapore's central bank reveals plans for a unified payment system

It's working on a point of sale terminal that reads all kinds of cards.

Singaporeans may be experiencing more seamless payments soon as the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) reveals that it is working towards a unified Point of Sales (POS) terminal that can read all kinds of cards at retail and hospitality outlets.

In a speech by Ravi Menon, managing director of the MAS, he announced that the regulatory body is also exploring an all-in-one addressing system that will enable residents to pay someone electronically using only the payee’s mobile number, e-mail address, social network account, or other proxies, without using the payee’s bank account number.

These initiatives are part of a more aggressive stance by the central bank regarding financial technology (FinTech), with Menon declaring that FinTech may well be the best hope for the future of finance.

“The financial industry is facing many headwinds: slower economic growth, narrower margins, tighter regulation, and greater competition from outside. FinTech can potentially help the financial industry regain its dynamism and at the same time purposefully serve the economy and the people,” Ravi Menon said. However, Ravi Menon added while the new technology is not without risks, regulation must not stifle innovation.

“MAS applies a materiality and proportionality test. This means when the risk posed by new technology becomes material, then regulation comes in. And the regulation must be proportionate to the risk posed,” he said.

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