July 03, 2013

RBF drafts laws

Geraldine Panapasa
Wednesday, July 03, 2013

THE Reserve Bank of Fiji is working on drafting laws that will govern payment systems in Fiji that are not captured by existing payment regulations.

In its 2012 annual report, the central bank said those included large volume wholesale and smaller retail payments including mobile money transfers and other innovative new financial services offered through mobile phones and non-bank microfinance institutions (MFIs).

"Technical assistance for this project was provided by the World Bank. The draft Payment Systems Decree is with the Attorney General's office and is expected to become effective by the end of the year," the report said.

In terms of mobile money ecosystem, the bank said this continued to expand across Fiji and was now becoming an accepted mode of payment.

RBF said consumers in Fiji had access to a wider range of services at their disposal through their mobile phones for many purposes like bill payments, international remittances, domestic transfers, online shopping payments, savings, insurance repayments and payments for judicial fines and municipal council services.

"The year 2012 also marked another milestone in the development of mobile money in Fiji. Fiji reportedly became the first country in the world to roll out mobile money as a payment option for civil servants to receive part of their salary directly deposited into their mobile money accounts," the central bank said.

Consumer Council of Fiji chief executive officer Premila Kumar said the introduction of the mobile money ecosystem as an accepted mode of payment was new and the council had not received any complaints in relation to this.

"Mobile phones are now being developed to have characteristics similar to that of a normal computer or personal computer so there is the possibility of scammers or hackers obtaining personal credit information including bank account numbers and personal identification numbers (PINs)," she said yesterday.

"Consumers relying on mobile phone banking may stop checking or reading their bank statements or bills and may not be able to fully understand the fee structure and charges."

She said another risk associated with this was the limited chance of generating an invoice or receipt for the payments done especially when comparing this to internet banking.

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