Singapore markets closed

COVID-19: Financial services remain open and available – MAS

People wait to use ATM machines at Tanjong Pagar Plaza in Singapore on April 1, 2020. (PHOTO: Roslan Rahman/AFP via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) affirmed that financial services will remain open and available to all customers and counterparties in Singapore and globally.

All financial markets in Singapore remain open, and payment services are unaffected, the MAS said in a statement on Friday (3 April).

Singapore will close most of its workplaces, except for essential services and those in key economic sectors. The country will also shut schools for a month to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in televised address to the nation on Friday.

Financial services is one of the essential services exempted from the suspension of activities at workplace premises under the elevated safe distancing measures announced by the Ministry of Health (MOH) today, the de facto central bank said.

All financial institutions will continue to operate, with reduced staffing on their premises, in line with MOH’s advisory on maximising telecommuting. The MAS has instructed financial institutions to ensure that their customer-facing locations adhere to all relevant guidance on safe distancing as mandated by the health ministry.

Banking services will continue to be available through online channels, ATMs and bank branches. Insurance, broking, custody, asset management and financial advisory services will also continue to be available, the monetary authority said.

Some branches of banks and finance companies and customer service centres of insurance companies may close temporarily because of reduced customer traffic, it added.

The MAS said banks will maintain adequate cash in ATMs and ask the public not to withdraw more cash than their normal needs. People are encouraged to use PayNow, FAST, Interbank GIRO, and debit or credit cards to make payments electronically.

The public should minimise going to financial institutions’ branches or other premises and should use online channels, such as Internet banking or customer service portals, for their transactions.

Customers applying for financial relief measures such as the deferral of bank loan and insurance premium payments as announced by MAS on 31 March are urged to contact their financial service providers through phone or e-mail.

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