Latest Payments News: Peru Harnesses India's UPI Technology In Landmark Digital Payments Deal, and more

Kat Pilkington

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June 10, 2024

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

Peru Harnesses India's UPI Technology In Landmark Digital Payments Deal

NPCI International Payments Limited (NIPL) and the Central Reserve Bank of Peru (BCRP) have partnered to deploy a real-time payments system in Peru based on India’s UPI.

Under the partnership, Peru will become the first country in South America to adopt India’s UPI technology, highlighting India's soft power in the payments space.

The partnership will enable the BCRP to establish a reliable and efficient real-time payments platform, facilitating instant transactions between individuals and businesses.

The new payment system aims to reduce dependence on cash and extend digital payment services to Peru’s large unbanked population.

Julio Velarde, governor of the BCRP, said the new infrastructure will play a key role in fostering innovation and allowing new participants to enter Peru’s payments ecosystem.

"This will undoubtedly offer new and accessible payment services to everyone, especially the unbanked population in Peru, complementing the existing payments industry,” he said.

eBay Prepares To Ditch Amex, Citing 'Unacceptably High' Fees

eBay has announced that it will no longer accept American Express (Amex) payments after August 17, 2024 due to "unacceptably high" fees.

In a statement, the online marketplace complained that a lack of competition in the credit card market is punishing merchants. It also said more regulation is needed.

"At a time when payment processing costs should be declining because of technological advancements, investments in fraud capabilities and customer protections by merchants like eBay, credit card transaction fees continue to rise because of a lack of meaningful competition," the company said.

"As consumers and small businesses are worried about inflation and rising costs, there is a need for more robust regulations to drive greater competition to credit card networks and help reduce transaction processing costs for merchants and their customers."

Central Bank Of Ireland Outlines Innovation Sandbox Plans

The Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) has announced plans to launch an innovation sandbox programme in 2024, following feedback from its recent consultation.

The programme aims to provide regulatory advice and support for innovative projects, with a focus on achieving better outcomes for society and the financial system.

“In a changing financial system, the Central Bank is evolving its approach — to continue to ensure the financial system operates in the best interests of consumers and the wider economy,” said Sharon Donnery, the CBI’s deputy governor.

“Enhancing our engagement with innovation in financial services and delivering an Innovation Sandbox Programme are important steps forward, and we were very pleased with the strong support for our proposals.”

The CBI said that the innovation sandbox will apply a proportionate regulatory framework, utilising an outcome-focused, risk-based approach.

The CBI has said that it will adhere to EU regulatory requirements and protect consumer interests, ruling out any regulatory exceptions. Additionally, the CBI will continue enhancing its Innovation Hub to engage with the innovation ecosystem.

Looking ahead, the CBI plans to issue a call for participants in Q3 2024 and commence the innovation sandbox programme in Q4 2024.

Australia Introduces Bill To Mandate Acceptance Of Cash Payments

Australia’s parliament has introduced the "Keeping Cash Transactions in Australia Bill 2024", aimed at ensuring cash remains a viable payment option for transactions across the country.

The bill imposes fines of A$5,000 for businesses that fail to accept cash payments if they supply goods or services to the public under regulated transactions and accept payment in person at their place of business.

Key exceptions include transactions exceeding A$10,000 and situations where using cash would pose a reasonable security risk.

The bill was introduced and read for the first time in parliament on June 3, 2024.

FCA Drops Criminal Investigation Into AML Failures At Monzo

UK neobank Monzo has announced that it is no longer under criminal investigation for anti-money laundering (AML) failures by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

However, the bank remains under investigation for potential breaches of the FCA's Principles for Businesses and related AML rules as a civil matter, it said.

Monzo confirmed the news in its 2024 annual report, which was published this week.

The criminal case dates back to 2021, when Monzo was informed by the FCA that it had opened an investigation into the bank for possible violations of the Money Laundering Regulations 2017.

In November 2023, Monzo was informed that this investigation is now closed and criminal charges will not be filed.

UBS Fined $55,000 For AML Failures Related To Yemen’s Ex-President

Switzerland’s Ministry of Finance has fined UBS Bank CHF50,000 ($55,000) for failures to flag suspicious transactions to Ali Abdullah Saleh, former president of Yemen.

According to local media, the penalty is concerned with a payment of CHF9m ($10m) which was made to Saleh by the Sultan of Oman in 2009.

The transaction triggered internal alerts at UBS, but instead of contacting the Money Laundering Reporting Office Switzerland (MROS) as required, employees simply noted the transaction in an internal dossier.

“It is common knowledge that wealthy rulers in the Arab world support their poorer colleagues with such gifts,” they wrote.

The investigation into UBS began in 2021 and it took two years for prosecutors to obtain the relevant files from the bank, the ministry said.

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