MAS to curb Cross-Border remittance scams

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has announced that it is working to enhance its anti-scam measures in response to the launch of the real-time cross-border retail payment linkages. In a written reply to a parliamentary question, the regulator confirmed that it is reviewing its anti-scam measures due to concerns that criminals could exploit a more interconnected global payment network. Singapore has launched the world’s first payment linkage between Singapore’s PayNow and Thailand’s PromptPay, and last month, the payments linkage between Singapore and India went live. MAS has similar plans in the pipeline with the Philippines and Malaysia.

MAS has worked with major retail banks to implement anti-scam controls on the domestic front. It has also lowered the default transaction notification threshold to S$100 or lower, alongside the daily limit of S$1000 or lower for real-time cross-border transfers. The regulator is keenly aware that scammers can make use of faster cross-border payments to transfer their criminal proceeds out of Singapore and beyond the jurisdiction of the local police to freeze.

MAS will proactively exchange relevant information with its international counterparts to surface suspicious cross-border flows and activities so that authorities can take the appropriate mitigating measures. The Singapore Police Force (SPF) is a member of the “Asset-Recovery Interagency Network-Asia Pacific”, which spans 28 jurisdictions in the Asia-Pacific region and aims to increase members’ effectiveness in depriving criminals of their illicit profits. SPF shares intelligence on transnational scams with the international policing community through INTERPOL.

MAS and the police will continue to work closely and proactively with the industry to review and enhance the suite of anti-scam measures. In addition, the regulator has released a blueprint with the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) to enhance the global payments network connectivity via multilateral linkages of countries’ national retail payment systems titled Project Nexus. The initiative aims to create more connectivity between countries’ payment systems, ultimately reducing the cost and increasing the efficiency of cross-border payments.

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