Latest Payments News: Bank Of Canada ‘Disappointed’ By Real-Time Payment System Delays, and more

Kat Pilkington

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June 3, 2024

Catch up on six of the stories our payments compliance analysts have covered lately, and stay up-to-date on the latest news.

Bank Of Canada ‘Disappointed’ By Real-Time Payment System Delays

A senior Bank of Canada official has said the bank is “disappointed” by the progress of the Real-Time Rail, an instant payment system that was scheduled to launch in 2019 but has been hit by repeated delays.

Ron Morrow, executive director of payments, supervision and oversight at Bank of Canada, made the comments on Thursday (May 30) while speaking at the Payments Canada Summit.

“I think it’s fair to say that we’re all disappointed this initiative hasn’t yet been launched. We’re behind other jurisdictions in rolling out real-time payment capability,” he said.

“But the good news is that, despite the delays, we now have a clear way forward. Payments Canada recently indicated that the system should be ready for industry testing in 2026.”

Once the Real-Time Rail goes live, Morrow said it will open up a “world of possibilities”, including a potential link-up of instant payment systems between the US and Canada.

Latvia Makes Progress In Phone Fraud Epidemic

Latvia is facing an epidemic of phone scams, but financial institutions are fighting back, according to the country's Financial Industry Association (FNA).

In the first four months of 2021, Latvia’s four largest banks managed to prevent almost half (€4.3m) of fraud cases, according to data compiled by the FNA. But despite warnings from various authorities about phone fraud schemes, some Latvians continue to fall victim.

Telephone fraudsters have become particularly active, the FNA says, defrauding Latvian citizens of €4.5m so far in 2024. In April alone, €910,593 was defrauded through 459 telephone fraud cases.

"Although commercial banks have prevented almost half of the phone fraud attempts in the first four months of this year, criminals still manage to defraud around €1m every month," said Armands Onzuls, FNA advisor.

"Citizens must become more critical thinkers and make sure of the validity of each request for information."

Bulgaria Has Strengthened Its AML/CTF Framework, Says MONEYVAL

Bulgaria has improved its anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) measures, MONEYVAL's new follow-up report has found.

Since its adoption of a mutual evaluation report in May 2022, MONEYVAL found that Bulgaria has improved its compliance with ten of the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) Recommendations.

These include recommendations on national cooperation and coordination, politically exposed persons, money or value transfer services and regulation and supervision of financial institutions.

Out of the 40 applicable FATF Recommendations that MONEYVAL reviewed in its latest report, Bulgaria is now rated as compliant or largely compliant with 27 and partially compliant with 13.

Bulgaria is expected to report back to MONEYVAL within one year’s time on progress to strengthen its implementation of AML/CTF measures.

Bank Of Israel Searches For CBDC Use Cases In New Developer Challenge

The Bank of Israel (BOI) has launched a "digital shekel challenge" to encourage developers to find innovative use cases for a potential central bank digital currency (CBDC).

The BOI has built a “technological prototype” for the challenge, simulating a digital shekel system at the central bank and its application programming interface (API) layer.

Payment service providers (PSPs) and other service providers will receive access to the system and will be able to develop products for end users among the general public.

"The digital shekel challenge is another step towards the means of payment of the future, with the aim of creating an innovative and competitive payments ecosystem,” said BOI deputy governor Andrew Abir.

“The success of the digital shekel will depend on cooperation between the Bank of Israel and the private and government sectors.”

The challenge is the first time that the BOI has allowed the payments industry, both at home and abroad, to work with the central bank on planning and designing a digital shekel.

BaFin Lifts N26 Customer Cap Following AML Improvements

Germany's Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) has fully lifted N26’s growth restriction effective as of June 1, 2024.

The growth cap was imposed by BaFin in 2021 along with a €4.25m fine for N26's failure to install effective money laundering controls.

At first, the company was able to take on up to 50,000 new customers per month, and the cap was later raised to 60,000 per month.

“We are pleased about the trust of our regulators and will continue our close exchange in the future," said Valentin Stalf, CEO of N26.

"In recent years, we have been able to make significant progress in preventing and combating money laundering and financial crime.”

Despite the lifting of the onboarding cap, a BaFin-enforced special representative will continue in place at the company until the end of 2024.

Thai SEC Seeks Public Feedback On Proposed Digital Assets Act

The Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is consulting on the Digital Assets Act, with the aim of overhauling the country’s regulatory framework for crypto-assets.

This new legislation is set to replace the 2018 Decree on Digital Assets, which was originally introduced as an emergency measure, and stakeholders have until July 22 to respond.

The consultation targets various aspects of crypto-asset businesses, establishing approval procedures for public offerings and detailing licensing requirements for operators.

Additionally, it specifies the criminal and civil penalties for failing to comply with the act.

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