Grab-Singtel, Sea, Ant Group, and Greenland Financial win Singapore digital banking licenses

Grab-Singtel, Sea Limited, Ant Group, and Greenland Financial were among the four groups to receive digital banking licenses from Singapore’s central bank, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), allowing them to operate in Singapore.

A total of 21 firms, including TikTok-parent firm ByteDance, had applied to get a digital license, of which 14 met the eligibility criteria, MAS said. Tech giants see a major opportunity in expanding to financial services as a way to supercharge their revenue in the rapidly growing region.

Grab-Singtel and Sea will be able to offer customers banking accounts, debit and credit cards and other services. Digital wholesale banks, the licenses of which went to Ant Group-owned entity and Greenland Financial consortium will serve small and medium sized businesses.

With Grab and Singtel’s combined experience in meeting the everyday needs of Singaporeans, as well as our deep tech expertise and data-driven insights, the digital bank will further our goal to empower more people to gain better control of their money and achieve better economic outcomes for themselves, their businesses and families.” Yuen Kuan Moon, Group CEO-designate, Singtel, added that this milestone comes at a time when the pandemic has underscored the importance of digital platforms,” Grab co-founder Anthony Tan said.

Ravi Menon, managing director of MAS said: “MAS applied a rigorous, merit-based process to select a strong slate of digital banks. We expect them to thrive alongside the incumbent banks and raise the industry’s bar in delivering quality financial services, particularly for currently underserved businesses and individuals.”

The approved digital banks will be able to start operating from Singapore in early 2022.

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