Week In Brief - October 29, 2021

October 29, 2021
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A short roundup of some of the week's payments news you may have missed.

Belgium: New ATM Network To Be Completed By 2024

Kris De Ryck, CEO of new Belgium ATM network Batopin, has said that construction of the project will be completed by 2024, and that “in sync with the deployment of the new network, the banks’ own-branded ATMs will be gradually phased out by the end of 2024”.

As VIXIO reported on Wednesday (October 28), access to cash continues to be an important public policy issue as we move further towards a digital economy.

According to an interview on the European Payments Council’s website, Ryck said: “The first 6 Batopin CASH points became operational in September of this year”, noting that you can follow the growth of the network on a weekly basis from their website.

Like many other markets around the world, usage of ATMs in Belgium has declined significantly over recent years, particularly since the pandemic. According to the Belgium Bankers’ Association, Feblfin, the number of ATM cash withdrawals fell 36 percent in 2020 to 153m transactions.

Running an ATM estate is a major cost for banks and as usage continues to decline, the business case for managing them becomes more of a challenge. At the same time, commercial interests mean that it is more advantageous to focus deployment in busy and popular areas. As a result, many remote or unprofitable areas are typically underserved.

According to Ryck: “88% of the ATMs operated by the major banks are located less than 1 kilometer from each other, and half of them are barely 111 metres away!”

The solution in Belgium is for the banks to pool their resources, and create a commercially neutral ATM service, which can also ensure wider coverage: “The advantage of neutral CASH points is their independence regarding any bank branch: their location can be chosen based on real cash needs only. Batopin aims to offer a smarter, more balanced access to cash over the entire Belgian territory.”

United States: FTC Requires Financial Institutions To Implement Stronger Data Security Safeguards

Following the increasing number of data breaches and cyberattacks, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced a newly updated rule that requires financial institutions to put in place stronger data security safeguards to protect their customers’ financial information.

The updated Safeguards Rule details specific criteria for what safeguards financial institutions must implement as part of their information security program. These include the limitation of who can access consumer data and the use of encryption to secure the data.

The rule implements the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act which requires financial institutions, including money service businesses, to explain their information-sharing practices to their customers and to safeguard sensitive data.

Hong Kong and China: Cross-Border Fintech Regulatory Cooperation Strengthened

Yu Weiwen, president of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), has announced that the People's Bank of China (PBOC) and the HKMA have signed a memorandum of agreement to develop a fintech innovation regulatory cooperation in the Greater Bay Area.

As part of the agreement, the PBOC will link its fintech innovation regulatory tools with the HKMA’s fintech regulatory sandbox to provide a “one-stop” platform that enables cross-border financial technology projects to be tested before they go to the market.

The joint platform will strengthen the cooperation between the two countries in various areas, including finance, technology and supervision, Weiwen said.

Philippines: New Rules For Filipino ID Verification

The Philippines released its guidelines on PhilID verification this week, which plan to make use of unique QR codes as part of the ID verification process.

The QR code verification system is expected to be launched before the end of 2021, while the biometric and SMS OTP (one-time password) verification systems will be piloted in 2021 and scaled up through 2022.

Financial institutions that are regulated by the Philippines central bank will be required to accept the PhilID card as a “sufficient” proof of identity under the new guidelines.

For the highest levels of assurance and security, the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) will offer online and offline methods of identity authentication via the PhilID physical security features, QR code digital verification, biometric verification and SMS one-time password (OTP).

Canada: Payments Association Releases Cyber Resilience Strategy

Payments Canada has released its new cyber security strategy outlining its approach to manage risk and foster preparedness and drive resilience across its national clearing and settlement systems.

According to the document: “Our cyber resilience framework encompasses our people, processes and technology — the three parts of an efficient whole. Five internal functions work together to protect corporate and payment system assets from cyber threats, while external cyber resilience objectives support our three organizational objectives: deliver, operate and facilitate.”

The five internal functions are:

  • Governance and Improvement: Establish clear roles, responsibilities and oversight mechanisms to support the implementation, review and continuous improvement of the Cyber Resilience Strategy and accompanying cyber resilience framework. This includes the strategic action to undertake annual internal and external audits of the cyber resilience framework in alignment with its ISMS implementation of ISO 27001, the international standard for information security management systems.
  • Identification and Assessment: Identify and manage corporate and payment system assets, including their dependencies on internal processes, procedures and systems, as well as their effect on external relationships.
  • Protection and Testing: Planning, developing and facilitating regular testing and exercises both internally and within the ecosystem to determine the overall effectiveness of the controls deployed to protect their critical assets, and leading initiatives to address prioritized gaps (if any).
  • Detection and Awareness: Detect cyber threats and incidents that impact, or have the potential to impact, their corporate and payment system assets by maintaining continuous monitoring capabilities.
  • Response and Recovery: Respond to cyber threats affecting corporate and payment system assets in a timely manner and recover from any incident or successful compromise.

These internal focal points will help Payments Canada meet its strategic external objectives to deliver and operate new financial systems in a safe and secure manner, as well as improve the resilience of Canada’s payment systems by facilitating engagement with stakeholders.

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