1/11/2011 Major Study of New Payment Methods Released by FATF
The Financial Action Task Force, which provides guidance for financial intelligence units around the world, including FinCEN in the United States, has issued a report on new payment methods (NPMs). This follows up on an extensive report issued in 2006. In the four years since the last report, the FATF finds that prepaid cards, mobile payments, and internet payment services are even more widely used, and are emerging as a viable alternative to large portions of the financial system in many countries. New payment methods are becoming popular with governments. Social Security recipients in the U.S. receive payments on prepaid cards, while police officers in Afghanistan may receive their salaries on their mobile phones without leaving their posts because of an arrangement between a bank and a mobile cell phone company. Inevitably this kind of growth comes with opportunities for criminals, particularly since large portions of these developing industries remain unregulated. Internet payment services are not, according to the FATF study, required to register in four of 15 countries surveyed. Those four countries are Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, and Russia. Even where an industry, such as mobile payment services, is regulated, however, there may be portions of the activity involved that are handled by or outsourced to unregulated agents. This report will be reviewed in the January 2011 issue of the Monitor.
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