Over 670 Singapore Remittances to China Frozen, MAS to Aid Those Affectedby Fintech News Singapore January 11, 2024
The Singapore Police Force (SPF) has received over 670 reports concerning funds remitted to China that were subsequently frozen, as of 15 December 2023.
In response to these incidents, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and SPF are actively seeking information from Chinese authorities to understand the underlying reasons and concerns that have led to the freezing of these recipient bank accounts in China.
Amidst these developments, individuals affected by the frozen remittances are being advised to first seek resolution directly with the remittance company involved.
This step is crucial for those whose intended recipients in China did not receive the transferred money. If the remittance company is unable to resolve the issue, remitters have the option to file a claim in the Small Claims Tribunals for amounts up to S$30,000. Additionally, they may consider pursuing legal action against the remittance company.
In light of these events, MAS had instructed remittance companies to only work with banks, card network operators such as UnionPay International, or licensed financial institutions to transfer funds to China for the next three months until end of March 2024.
This temporary suspension was intended to give remittance companies 14 days to adjust their practices and complete ongoing remittances.
MAS emphasised that licensees are required to ensure that money accepted for transfer is deposited in the recipient’s account within a stipulated timeframe of three to seven business days.
Furthermore, these companies must provide adequate documentary evidence confirming that the recipient has indeed received the money.
Failure to comply with these requirements, including the three to seven business days transmission timeframe, constitutes a breach of MAS’ regulations.
In such cases, MAS will conduct supervisory reviews and may take enforcement action against the licensees, potentially questioning their suitability to hold a license under the PS Act.
In 2023, the number of complaints MAS received regarding alleged failures in remittances was below 100, accounting for less than 0.01% of the total value remitted from Singapore.
This situation has raised significant concerns about the reliability and accountability of remittance services, particularly in the context of international transfers.
Alvin Tan, Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, and board member of MAS said,
“MAS has also told the licensees to render the necessary assistance to the affected consumers, strengthen their complaints handling process and review their existing arrangements with partners and intermediaries for remittances to China, in view of these complaints and the impact to their customers. MAS and SPF will continue to engage the relevant Chinese authorities and the Singapore licensees, and render assistance to the affected remitters.”
Featured image credit: Edited from Freepik