Rate Our Information

Was this Information useful?

Electronic Transactions Act and Regulations

last updated 08 March 2019

The Electronic Transactions Act (ETA) (Cap 88) was first enacted in July 1998 to provide a legal foundation for electronic signatures, and to give predictability and certainty to contracts formed electronically. In July 2010, the ETA was repealed and re-enacted to provide for the continuing security and use of electronic transactions.

Singapore was one of the first countries in the world to enact a law that addresses issues that arise in the context of electronic contracts and digital signatures, and continues this trend by being amongst the first to implement the United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 23rd November 2005 (the UN Convention). The Electronic Transactions Bill was introduced in Parliament on 26 April 2010, and passed on 19 May 2010. The re-enacted Act came into force on 1 July 2010.

The Singapore ETA follows closely the UN Convention, which is an update to the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Commerce, to better fit the current Internet environment. The UN Convention sets a new global standard for national electronic commerce legislation.

The ETA addresses the following issues:

  1. Commercial code for e-commerce transactions: The ETA was enacted to create a predictable legal environment for e-commerce. It clearly defines the rights and obligations of the transacting parties. It also addresses the legal aspects of electronic contracts, use of specified security procedures (including digital signatures) and concerns for authentication and non-repudiation.

  2. Use of electronic applications for public sector: In order to facilitate the use of electronic transactions in the public sector, the ETA contains an omnibus provision through which government departments and statutory boards can accept electronic filings and electronic versions of documents without having to amend their respective Acts. It also allows public bodies to issue permits and licences electronically.

  3. Liability of network service providers: Singapore recognises the importance of network service providers in providing information infrastructure and content. The government also realises that it is impractical for network service providers to check all the content for which they merely provide access. To create a transparent legal environment conducive to the growth of network service providers, the ETA specifies that network service providers will not be subject to criminal or civil liability for such third-party material, in relation to which they are merely the host. The clause, however, will not affect the obligations of a network service provider under any licensing or other regulatory regime established under the law.

  4. Provision for the development of security procedures such as Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and biometrics: the ETA provides for the appointment of a Controller to enable regulations to be made for the licensing and accreditation of specified security procedure providers, such as certification authorities (CAs), and including recognition of foreign CAs.
The Evidence Act (Cap 97) was also amended in 1997 to allow the use of electronic records as evidence in the courts.
Electronic Transactions Act (Cap 88)
1.Electronic Transactions Act (Cap 88, 2010)
2.Electronic Transactions (Certification Authority) Regulations (Cap 88, Rg 1, 2010)

Legislation is reproduced on this website with the permission of the Government of Singapore. Acts

  • Differences Between ETA 1998 and ETA 2010

    With the enactment of the Electronic Transactions Act (ETA) 1998, Singapore became the first in the world to implement the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Commerce, and is widely acknowledged as a world leader in laws relating to electronic commerce and ICT.Read more
  • Controller of Certification Authorities

    Singapore has a vision of being an international electronic commerce hub, where electronic commerce transactions from the region and around the world are processed. A conducive legal and policy framework that creates an environment of trust, predictability and certainty in Singapore is fundamental for electronic commerce to flourish.Read more
  • Excerpt of AGC Digest 2010 on Electronic Transactions Bill 2010

    Singapore was among the first countries in the world to have introduced legislation to enable electronic commerce. The Electronic Transactions Act (the Act) (Cap. 88) was enacted in 1998 to provide a legal framework that clearly sets out the rights and obligations of parties in the course of electronic commerce, as well as the legal aspects of electronic contracts, digital signatures, authentication and non-repudiation.Read more