Fri | Feb 28, 2020

BOJ lifts epayment transaction limits, but tightens oversight

Published:Friday | April 12, 2019 | 12:20 AM

The e-payment market is now valued at around $1.3 billion annualised based on to new information from the central bank, which announced that new rules governing the providers of electronic payment solutions now includes an allowance for larger transactions.

The adjustments also allow the Bank of Jamaica to suspend, revoke or withdraw authorisation to licensed providers, as well as to publicly disclose the suspensions or revocations, under a new system of sanctions.

The Electronic Retail Payment Services, or ERPS, market last year comprised four players – National Commercial Bank Jamaica, the provider of the NCB Quisk mobile money service; GraceKennedy Payment Services, which offers the GK MPay mobile wallet; Sagicor Bank Jamaica, provider of Sagicor MyCash; and Alliance Payment Services, which distributes ePay card.

Together they now handle more than 700,000 transactions on average each quarter.

In its 2018 Financial Stability Report, the Bank of Jamaica data indicated that the number of transactions has been rising, as have transaction values, which were nearing $400 million per quarter.

As for the new rules guiding ERPS or e-payment providers, the central bank amended the guidelines last November, but delayed the implementation to February 1, 2019.

They include adjustments to the know your customer and customer due diligence requirements, and the attendant classification of e-payment providers into three tiers: as issuers of payment instruments; services payment initiation service providers; and merchant acquirers.

The new guidelines include explicit provisions on the treatment of merchants, which must be registered by the payment service providers engaging them, in conformity with the relevant KYC and anti-money laundering guidelines.

Transaction limits have also been increased within each tier to $100,000, $200,000 and $300,000, respectively. And provision has been made for special approval of Tier 3 limits up to a maximum account balance of $1 million, under conditions where the central bank is satisfied that the payment provider has sufficient safeguards in place to mitigate the risk.