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Non-bank financial institutions to get access to FAST and PayNow

Felicia Tan
Felicia Tan11/30/2020 11:03 AM GMT+08  • 3 min read
Non-bank financial institutions to get access to FAST and PayNow
Real-time fund transfers between your bank accounts and e-wallets and transfers from different e-wallets will now be a reality.
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Eligible non-bank financial institutions (NFIs) licensed as major payment institutions will now have direct access to Fast and Secure Transfers (FAST) and PayNow, says the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Nov 30.

The NFIs will have be able to gain access to the banking system’s retail payments infrastructure from February 2021.

Direct connection to FAST and PayNow means users of NFI e-wallets will be able to make real-time fund transfers between bank accounts and e-wallets, as well as across different e-wallets from users or applications that will be joining FAST or PayNow.

Currently, users are only able to rely on debit or credit cards to top-up funds, and transfers between different e-wallets are not possible.

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.

The API payment gateway is better geared to the technology architecture of banks and NFIs, and can also be used by other banks and NFIs in future.

“Direct access by NFIs to FAST and PayNow closes the last-mile gap in Singapore’s e-payments journey. Consumers who may not have ready access to debit or credit cards to fund their e-wallets will now have the option to do so directly through their bank accounts. Our vision to enable complete real-time payments interoperability will now become a reality. Adoption of e-payments will become even more simple for individuals and businesses,” says MAS’s managing director Ravi Menon.

“The successful launch of the API payment gateway is a significant milestone for FAST and PayNow, which are the foundation of instantaneous, open and accessible payments. As the operator of FAST and PayNow, we are proud to be part of this ongoing progress of Singapore’s real-time payments infrastructure that will serve as both a catalyst and an enabler for innovative e-payments,” says Lawrence Chan, chairman of Banking Computer Services (BCS).

“ABS welcomes new participants to FAST and PayNow. This is the first time the industry has opened access to these two important e-payment platforms to non-banks. The move underscores how much ABS member banks have innovated and transformed to prepare for the digital future, and reaffirms our commitment to give customers greater convenience and options. FAST and PayNow adoption rates have exceeded expectations and we are confident that the addition of new players will help accelerate the national path towards a less-cash economy,” adds Ong Ai-Boon, director of ABS.

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