Payment Service providers: Licence application

How does a payment service provider qualify for an exemption or exclusion under the PSA?

Persons who have carried on certain regulated payment services prior to the commencement of the PS Act may notify MAS for exemption from holding a licence under the PS Act for a specified period.

Entities who are providing services pertaining to limited purpose e-money and/or limited purpose digital payment tokens.

According to MAS (FAQs)
last revised 31 March 2021

In order to avoid double regulation of the same activity, banks, merchant banks and finance companies are exempted from holding a licence, and from complying with requirements that these DTIs (Deposit Taking Institutions) are already subject to under the Banking Act, MAS Act, and FCA. Bank-issued credit cards are also regulated under the Banking Act. DTIs are subject to the same requirements as non-DTIs for payments-related activities. For example, DTIs are not exempted from requirements in the PS Act relating to e-money issuance services, and DPT services. They are therefore treated in the same manner as other licensees in order to maintain a level playing field.

Non-bank credit cards or charge cards issuers are also exempted from holding a licence and complying with licensing-related requirements. Non-bank credit card or charge card issuers are already required to hold a licence under the Banking Act for the provision of credit facilities. Non-bank credit card issuers however need to comply with the other requirements in the PS Act, that do not overlap with those in the Banking Act.


MAS has carved out from regulation any payment service mentioned in Part 1 of the First Schedule to the PS Act, that is provided by any person licensed, approved, registered or regulated or exempt from being licensed, approved, registered or regulated under the SFA, FAA, TCA and Insurance Act where the payment service is solely incidental to or necessary solely for that person to carry on that person’s business in any regulated activity for which that person is so licensed, approved, registered, regulated or exempted from being licensed, approved, registered or regulated to provide under those Acts. This is to facilitate the provision of financial services under these Acts and to avoid double regulation.