This week’s look at payments stories from around the globe stops at the U.K., Russia, Hungary and the European Union.
Russia Wants To Imprison Bitcoin Users, In “Corrective Labor” Camp
Choose your currency carefully in Russia these days as the Russian Finance Ministry doesn’t mess around. The Ministry wants to punish anyone who uses Bitcoins with a 500,000 ruble (about $6,500 U.S.) fine and two years in a “corrective labor” camp, according to a report in Crypto Coins News. The story says that corrective labor is just what it sounds like: “a combination of penal detention and forced labor.”
“Citing common concerns shared by experts at the Russian Interior Ministry, the use of ‘surrogate money’ – a term coined for virtual and digital currencies by Russian authority figures – such as Bitcoin, is now seen as a threat to Russian national security,” the story said.
MasterCard Pushes Back Against Hungarian Fine For Abusing Its Market Position
After the Hungarian Competition Authority slapped MasterCard with a HUF 88 million (about $318,000 U.S.) fine “for abusing its market position,” the card brand said it would appeal the fine, according to a report in The Budapest Business Journal.
The Authority had said that MasterCard “set interbank commissions in 2011-2013 in a way that would squeeze out competitors. GVH added that MasterCard set its commissions with the knowledge of a cap placed on peer VISAʼs interbank commissions by the European Commission from February 2011, thus further reducing already weakened competition on the market,” the story said.
EU Wants To Cap Cash Payments As Anti-Terror Tactic
The limits may impact shipments of more than 10,000 Euros in cash (about $11,000 U.S.), “extending to mail and freight services the checks already carried out on people crossing borders with too much cash in their pockets.
The EU executive is also considering whether to propose common ceilings on cash payments, which are currently applied inconsistently in EU countries,” according to a report in The Fiscal Times.
The story noted that “Germany, Britain and Austria apply no limits to consumers’ cash payments, while France imposes a ceiling of 3,000 euros for payments made by French residents. Italy plans to raise its ceiling from 1,000 to 3,000 euros, in a move the government sees useful to boost retail sales.”
European Central Bank Pushes P2P
The Bank is working with a group of large Euro banks to finalize a mobile P2P system for funds transfers across the Eurozone, according to a report in Finextra.
“ECB executive board member Yves Mersch said the system would link e-mail adresses and mobile phone numbers to an individual’s International Bank Account Number (Iban). The system would supplement national mobile-to-mobile schemes by providing a system for cross-border transfers,” the story said. Officials say they want to have an initial draft “by the end of the summer.”
MiFinity Payments Launches Gaming Mobile Digital Wallet
News out of London is that MiFinity Payments (formerly NXSystems), a global payments provider that serves the travel, hospitality and gaming industries, has introduced the MiFinity E-Wallet.
“The gaming industry, particularly online and mobile gaming, has a myriad of challenges, including the high-risk ‘tag’ due to potential for fraud and money laundering, varying legal issues for different geographies, and the overall need to provide a seamless and flexible way for gamers to deposit and withdraw funds with speed and ease,” MiFinity said in a statement.