Ramon Garcia Gibson, an expert on the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing, points out the slowness of adapting, when it is done, the rules and administrative and police procedures to the vertiginous changes in technology, in this case in payments methods available to the public.
Calling cards, cell phones and online payments, which are a great advantage for trade and even controlling personal finances have become tools for criminals to launder money.
"According to various sources it is estimated that annually around 40.000 million from the sale of the drugs crosses from the U.S. to Mexico, some of which is transported as contraband across the border by people with cash in their vehicles or attached to their bodies, using prepaid cards or electronic transfers.
Many of us have completed the classic customs form when entering a country where we you are asked if you bring $10.000 or more in cash to declare so, what do offenders think when they fill out this form knowing that they are bringing much more than that in prepaid cards that are legally exempt from reporting? Do they have a good laugh at this control that is so easy to evade? Without a doubt prepaid cards are just the start of the concerns for authorities over new payment methods. Cell phones and online payment schemes are the new frontier. "
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With an investment of $6 million, a card payment systems will be installed on buses, with operations starting in April.
The system aims to prevent drivers having to carry cash, as passengers will only be able to use the service through prepaid cards.
Ruben Altamirano, vice president of the Regional Union of Collective Transport Cooperatives (Urecootraco) noted that "carriers will not invest money in the installation of equipment or issuing the cards, but rather companies interested in the business will do so.
The draft law stipulates a maximum of $242 per movement and a cumulative amount up to $970 per month in transactions made via mobile devices.
The proposal by the Central Reserve Bank (BCR) seeks to "... regulate transactions through mobile devices. This financial service, to date, is only offered by Tigo Money for Tigo telephone customers."
A bill is to be submitted to Congress which intends to regulate banking transactions via phones.
The initiative will be presented in the next few days by the Central Reserve Bank (BCR) and the Superintendency of the Financial System (SSF), said the president of the BCR, Martha Evelyn de Rivera.
Although we have not yet seen mass use of payments via mobile phones, 2012 will bring a significant acceleration of this trend.
The arrival of the cashless society has been declared in every trend list since 2005. Even though 2012 won't be the year when consumers massively give up using coins and bills for swiping their smart phones against the tills, it will be the year that major players like Google and MasterCard actively launch initiatives so we can all avoid carrying hard cash in our pockets.