Latest Payments News: Latvia, Mastercard Launch New Campaign To Combat Phone Scams, and more

Kat Pilkington

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July 8, 2024

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

Latvia, Mastercard Launch New Campaign To Combat Phone Scams

In response to a rise in telephone fraud cases, the Latvian Financial Industry Association (FNA) and Mastercard have this month launched an anti-fraud campaign with the slogan "Throw it away".

The campaign aims to raise awareness of phone scams, especially among the elderly, and to arm consumers with knowledge to protect themselves.

According to FNA data, there were 4,195 reported fraud cases in Latvia in the first five months of 2024, 2,448 of which were linked to phone scams.

From January to May, fraudsters were able to steal nearly €5.2m, nearly matching the €5.8m lost in all of 2023.

Armands Onzuls, advisor to the FNA, said that fraud has risen as Latvia’s older generations have adopted card payments and other digital payments, particularly for online transactions.

Singapore Lawmaker Probes MAS About Banking Services For Visually Impaired

The Monetary of Singapore (MAS) has faced questions this week about the adequacy of banking services for visually impaired customers.

In a parliamentary session, Singaporean lawmaker Ong Hua Han asked about the steps the MAS has taken to ensure that these customers can access banking services independently.

Gan Kim Yong, deputy prime minister and chair of the MAS, said the central bank has launched several initiatives to support visually impaired customers.

These include "talking ATMs" with audio and braille features, staff training programmes and enhanced digital banking apps compatible with voice command software.

Gan also reported that, from 2021 to 2023, the MAS received four instances of feedback related to the accessibility of internet and phone banking services for visually impaired persons.

The issues, primarily concerning account verification via one-time passwords or personal ID numbers, were swiftly addressed by the banks involved, often through guiding customers to use solutions such as talking ATMs, the minister said.

New Zealand Consults On Proposed Agreement To Develop Open Banking

New Zealand’s Commerce Commission has opened to consultation on a proposed agreement between itself and Payments NZ to further develop the country’s open banking framework.

In a statement, the commission said it has reached a “preliminary view” that it should grant conditional approval to Payments NZ to work with application programming interface (API) providers to develop a partnering framework for API services.

This would enable API providers such as banks and third parties such as fintechs to work together on the provision of API services to other third parties.

The benefits of the proposed agreement include reduced transaction costs and more efficient contract terms between parties, the commission said.

Stakeholders have until July 15, 2024 to give feedback on the proposed agreement.

Lithuania Fines Former Majestic Financial Board Member For AML Violations

The Bank of Lithuania has imposed a €50,000 fine on a former board member of Majestic Financial UAB, a global payments firm, according to a new bulletin.

This action follows an earlier revocation of the institution’s licence due to breaches of anti-money laundering (AML) laws in April this year.

At the time, the central bank said the firm had “grossly and systematically” violated compliance rules.

The ex-board member, who also served as the chief compliance officer, failed to ensure the implementation of adequate AML controls.

An inspection revealed significant lapses, including poor internal controls, inadequate customer identification and insufficient monitoring of high-risk clients.

UK's Open Banking Limited Announces Major Update With Standard v4.0

The Open Banking Limited (OBL) has published its Open Banking Standard v4.0, the first significant update to the framework in almost six years. This release aims to lay a stable foundation for the ecosystem's future growth.

The new version aligns the Open Banking Standard with global norms, aiming to facilitate improved information flows and benefit all participants in the ecosystem.

It also ensures the standard's relevance and alignment with international messaging standards (ISO 20022) and security standards (FAPI 1.0 Advanced Final).

Delivering v4.0 of the standard would not have been possible without extensive consultation with industry and other key stakeholders, the OBL said in a statement shared with Vixio.

“It was very encouraging to see widespread support for the changes and we are grateful for the time and effort across the whole ecosystem to support its successful development,” said Fiona Hamilton, head of standards at OBL.

Caroline Stretton, head of product at open banking firm TrueLayer, welcomed the introduction of the new standard. “Despite regulatory uncertainty, OBL is continuing to maintain and improve how the UK open banking functions, for the benefit of the businesses and consumers who use it," she said.

Kuwait Instant Payments System Cleared For Launch By Central Bank

The Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) has approved the launch of a new instant payments system known as WAMD.

WAMD users must have a Kuwaiti bank account linked to a phone number, as well as access to a WAMD enabled banking app.

Banks offering WAMD payments at launch of the system include Kuwait Finance House (KFH), National Bank of Kuwait and Commercial Bank of Kuwait (CBK).

Individual transactions are limited to KWD1,000 ($3,260); daily cumulative transactions are limited to KWD3,000 ($9,787); and monthly cumulative transactions are limited to KWD20,000 ($65,250).

Kuwait joins more than 70 countries that have deployed instant payment systems, which can typically deliver payments from sender to receiver in less than 60 seconds.

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