The Bank of Guyana has completed new regulations which not only bring more scrutiny to electronic funds transfer services, including at commercial banks, but has set out strict guidelines how customers are to be treated.
The regulations would come a year after the National Payments System Act (Act No. 13, 2018) was passed in the National Assembly- part of an array of measures to bring the country’s financial systems on par with the rest of the world.
The regulations was signed into effect recently and affects transactions from electronic terminals, telephonic instruments, point of sale terminals, ATMs and credit and debit card transfers.
According to Bank of Guyana’s governor, Dr. Gobind Ganga, as regulator, there is more emphasis on commercial banks and other entities to ensuring that their officers meet the necessary due diligence requirements before they are licensed.
The new regulations will eventually bring into loop, the operations of mobile money transactions, Western Union and Moneygram.
Money transfer services have been regarded as a prime point for money laundering transactions, hence the regulations.
According to the regulations – the National Payments System (Electronic Funds Transfer) Regulations 2019- the parties, including the service provider and customer, must authorize the transactions for it to be legal.
There must be receipts issued and the providers must send to the customer periodic bank statements detailing transactions.
When transfers are carried out, the regulations spell out the liabilities of the provider. They could be liable if it is established that it is their error or they have failed to stop a payment when instructed to do so.
Commercial banks and other service providers must notify customers when their system is down.
There are few instances where the providers will not be liable – in cases of force majeure or other circumstances beyond their control.
According to the governor, the customer will have 15 days after receiving statements to notify the provider, in writing, of payment errors.
The commercial banks and other money transfer services will have 10 days after such complaints, once established, to refund the money.
The Bank of Guyana said that an adjudicating body can determine damages for the customer if the provider knowingly and willfully concludes the customer’s complaint is without merit.
However, the customer could be liable for losses if it is proven that confidential information like passcodes are not kept safely and through carelessness end up in the hands of third parties.
In addition to keeping proper records, the providers are mandated to store them for seven years from date of transaction.
According to Dr. Ganga, the providers will be subjected to rigid checks to ensure the officers are fit and proper and there are proper audit and other safety systems for money transfers in place.
Even agents will have to pass the scrutiny.
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