Youtap Begins Cloud-Based Service for Mobile Money Transactions

Youtap has announced the launch of a payment processing platform delivered as a cloud service for mobile money and payment providers in developing markets.

The innovation is called Youtap Cloud and it enables real-time transaction processing for contactless mobile money and bank wallet payments.

It supports QR code payments, as well as NFC technology, including low-cost micro point-of-sale (POS) devices, companion cards and ‘tap and pay’ using tags or wearables.

The solution is a white-label service with minimal upfront costs, allowing the provider to focus on go-to-market initiatives and merchant acquisition.

Youtap Cloud connects to banking and traditional payment networks through a range of interfaces and to blockchain for digital payments, interbank, interbranch and cross-border settlement.

The service is deployed from regional PCI-compliant data centres as a public or private cloud service. Based on Java and Oracle, with a range of Android and Apple OS apps, Youtap Cloud provides banks and payment service providers with open APIs to integrate the next generation of mobile payments into their existing banking and payment applications. It can be integrated with an existing mobile wallet or for new entrant companies requiring a mobile wallet.

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Domestic money services business to grow 10%

Malaysia’s money services business (MSB) industry is expected to grow by 10% to RM130.35 billion this year, up from RM118.5 billion in 2016, mainly lifted by growth in the wholesale currency business.

Malaysian Association of Money Services Business (MAMSB) president Ramasamy Veeran said the wholesale currency business is expected to increase by 40% to RM15 billion.

Ramasamy told a press conference in conjunction with the Third Money Services Business Asia Pacific Conference 2017 in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday that the money changing segment is also expected to advance by 10% to nearly RM80 billion this year from RM73.5 billion in 2016, mainly supported by Malaysia’s improving tourism sector.

However, on the remittance segment, he anticipates it to fall by 7% to RM32 billion from the RM34.4 billion recorded previously.

“We see a tendency among foreign workers holding back their money at the banks at the moment due to the weaker ringgit,” he said.

Ramasamy also said high transparency had contributed to the low cost of remittance for the MSB industry.

“The open competition in Malaysia’s remittance business makes it more transparent. I believe Malaysia’s remittance cost is among the lowest in the region,” he added.

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Taking money services business to greater heights Read

THE Malaysian Association of Money Services Business (MAMSB) supported by the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), hosted a two-day Money Services Business Asia Pacific Conference 2017 (MAPC 2017) at Sasana Kijang, Bank Negara Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur.

The MAPC 2017 is the largest money services business (MSB) industry conference in the region.

The event was officiated by Bank Negara assistant governor Jessica Chew Cheng Lian.

The theme was “Harnessing Innovation for the Sustainability of the Money Services Business Industry”.

The conference this year saw 420 professionals from 23 countries comprising currency exchange and remittance industry players, regulators, technology companies, banks, inter-governmental agencies, merchant service providers, telecommunication providers, mobile money service providers, as well as complementary service providers to the MSB industry such as legal, compliance, audit and security from the Asia-Pacific region.

Speaking at the press conference, MAMSB president Ramasamy K. Veeran said, “MAPC 2017 is the third conference organised by MAMSB since its inception in January 2014.

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Holidaymakers’ foreign exchange woes

Travel cards like Mastercard’s Cash Passport, and Visa’s Loaded for Travel are a convenient way to take money overseas.

They have the safety and online spending features of credit cards, and can be easily replaced (at a cost), if lost.

There’s also fraud protection, which should mean that as long as people have taken sensible precautions with their card, they aren’t liable for any losses they sustain.

And many travel cards let people choose when to change their New Zealand dollars into the currencies they will need overseas, so exchange rate watchers can pick their moment to swoop.

Kiwibank’s Loaded for Travel, for example, lets people load money in US  dollars, British pounds, Canadian dollars, Japanese Yen, Singaporean dollars, Hong Kong dollars, Australian dollars, Thai baht, euros and South African rand.

But, as the unhappy Cash Passport user found, exchange rates vary, and terms and conditions can be hard to understand.

There can also be high fees, including one-off application fees to get one, like the $20 Westpac charges for its travel card.

Unlike the Cash Passport, the Westpac Travel Card is loaded up in New Zealand dollars, and when used overseas, there’s a 2.5 per cent fee for each transaction, and the exchange rate is set by Visa.

Westpac said to check on the Visa website for the current exchange rate.

The United Nations recognises 180 different country currencies. The British pound is the oldest of the lot.

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The last currency exchange in a provincial travel centre was in the Sault — now it’s gone

“As a ‘remote’ location our operational costs in Sault Ste. Marie were inflated, the trading was very seasonal (and unidimensional), and it was also subject to yearly travel cycles,” Roberge wrote.

With the Sault Ste. Marie location pulling out, Devereaux said OTMPC saw an opportunity to return currency exchanges to five locations and the plan is to put out a request for bids in the summer of 2017 with service to begin operating in the fall.

Devereaux said they had interest from some service providers however everything is going through a formal procurement process.

OTMPC said the Sault’s Travel Information Centre had 123,161 visitors from April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017 while Ontario’s 11 centres welcomed one million visitors combined in that time period.

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Apple in talks to launch money-transfer service: Recode

Apple Inc (AAPL.O: Quote) has held talks with payments industry partners about launching a money-transfer service, technology news website Recode reported on Thursday.

The service will allow iPhone owners to transfer money digitally to other iPhone users, Recode reported, citing sources familiar with the talks. (bit.ly/2plLxAB)

Apple will announce the new service later this year, one source told Recode, while another told the website an announcement and launch date may not yet be set.

The service, if launched, would compete with digital money transfer services such as PayPal’s (PYPL.O: Quote) Venmo offering, Square Inc’s (SQ.N: Quote) Square Cash, as well as services from big banks.

Apple was also in talks with payments network operator Visa Inc (V.N: Quote) to create its own pre-paid cards to run on the Visa debit network, and tied to the new peer-to-peer service, the Recode report

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Sending Money Home is Big Business

A new class of startups is using bitcoin and the blockchain to drastically lower fees as they try to grab a share of the remittance market from old competitors like Western Union.

The Fight For The $400 Billion Business Of Immigrants Sending Money Home
In some poor countries, like Somalia or Haiti, remittances make up more than a quarter of national income. [Illustration: mooltfilm/iStock]

“Dollars wrapped with love.” That’s how Dilip Ratha describes remittances—the money immigrants send home to their families and friends. “There are millions of people who migrate each year. With the help of the family, they cross oceans, they cross deserts, they cross rivers, they cross mountains,” Ratha, an economist, said in a 2014 TED talk. “They risk their lives to realize a dream, and that dream is as simple as having a decent job somewhere so they can send money home and help the family, which has helped them before.”

For a long time, economists tended to overlook these dollars, but recently they’ve come to appreciate their importance. Remittances, which totaled $429 billion in 2016, are worth three times as much as all the foreign aid doled out by governments worldwide, and it’s likely the money is more effective dollar-for-dollar. Unlike aid, which is notorious for passing through corrupt middlemen and inefficient bureaucracies, remittances go directly to recipients, where they pay for schooling, medical expenses, and new fridge-freezers. In some poor countries, like Somalia or Haiti, remittances make up more than a quarter of national income. And statistics show that remittances tend to hold up even in times of crisis. After the financial crash of 2007-2008, the intra-family flows continued even as private capital ground to a halt.

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7 tips to keep your currency exchange business anti-money laundering compliant

Money Services Businesses (MSBs) like Bureau de Change, travel agencies and airport retailers are potential targets for money launderers and terrorist financiers. As this has serious implications for your business, keeping up-to-date and fully compliant with Anti Money Laundering (AML) and Anti Terrorist Financing (ATF) legislation is an ongoing operation.

Here are 7 tips that will keep your MSB compliant:

Invest in a computerized record keeping system that is compliant with regulations

If you’re a business still using a manual record-keeping system, you will find it difficult to keep your accounts operational. Currency exchange software can help keep you compliant and has a host of other benefits like stock control, real-time monitoring of profit and loss, and better customer support.

Train your managers on all the regulations for AML and ATF

Keep evidence of your employees’ training in regulatory safeguards, record-keeping and reporting on file. On-the-job training is also excellent for encouraging employee’s to take ownership and responsibility, adding value to their roles and your business.

Put a bespoke AML and ATF compliance program in place and document it

Create a compliance manual that includes KYC (Know Your Customer), KYA (Know Your Agent), KYE (Know Your Employee), systematic record-keeping, automatic sanction-list checks,  risk mitigation, and so on. It should also state your adherence to the 24-hour rule and you sanction list checks each time you deal with recurring clients.

Automate your background checks against all relevant sanction lists

You should update your list on a weekly basis, minimum. Your currency exchange software should ideally have a tool for the automatic live check of customer names against multiple international consolidated watch-lists (sanction lists) such as the SDN list (Specially Designated Nationals) by OFAC (Office of Foreign Asset Control) and the OSFI list (Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions). Manual systems for background checks are no longer acceptable by banks and/or AML auditors.

AML Software

Keep good records for reporting and evidence of suspicious transactions

As an MSB, it’s quite usual to encounter suspicious transactions. You must keep good records and keep all evidence of any suspicious transactions so you can provide it to your bank. All suspicious transactions are reportable to the government; you should keep proof of your STR (Suspicious Transaction Report) on paper and electronic format.

Set up an internal audit program

Schedule an internal audit (or risk-assessment program) to take place at least once a year. Ensure you record your findings. It’s a good idea to include the details of the schedule in your compliance manual. If you have currency exchange software, it collects all transactional information in one place where it can be cross-referenced, and will make your internal audits easier to manage.

Be prepared for an external risk audit

Every two years it will be necessary for you to undergo an external audit. This is usually conducted by expert AML and ATF auditors. One of the best ways to be prepared is to have a computerized record keeping system. Work closely with your external auditor and give them access to all the data they need. If you’ve invested in software with an AML Audit facility, this is much easier.

If you have any doubts about your abilities to meet these requirements, we can recommend trusted compliance consultants who can help you put together a compliance program. The referral is a complementary service to our customers.

 

Jackie Yeadon

Top 3 Travel Money Mistakes

When traveling there are many things to consider when it comes to keeping your money safe. More often then not, travelers are bringing more money on their trip than they would usually carry at home which can put them at significant risk for robbery when traveling abroad.

When traveling to a place where the currency is different than your home country, there are many hidden costs and fees associated with using ATM and credit cards which the traveler should be aware of and plan for.

Look at the top 3 Travel Money Mistakes so your dream vacation doesn’t quickly turn into a nightmare!

Let your bank know you are traveling

 

Many banks now have extremely tight security for all customer accounts and will be notified immediately if your account has “irregular” transactions.  If your customer profile states that you reside in Dallas, TX and you have transactions from London, England, your bank may suspect fraudulent activity and freeze your accounts until they can reach you.

Having your accounts frozen while traveling leaves you in a strange place with out access to money! This is never good.

Avoid this by giving your bank and credit card company a heads up when you are planning to travel. Most banks and credit card companies have an online form to fill out that allows you to enter your travel dates, destination, and any other changes to your regular spending habits.

Image result for travel

Beware of ATM and Bank Fees

 

When traveling abroad it is important to remember that your bank and most ATM’s are going to charge you a fee to complete transactions in a foreign currency.

Several factors play into how much fees you pay, such as whether the ATM or Bank is within your banks “network”. This information can be obtained from your bank or credit card company beforehand and you may discuss the possible ways to reduce the fees charged on your foreign transactions.

Here is a great article from Independent Traveler on foreign ATM’s and how fees are calculated:

ATMs Abroad

 

DO NOT use public Wi-Fi for any Financial Transactions

 

Often while traveling you have access to free Wi-Fi in your hotel or at specific places such as: cafes, malls, and libraries.  While these are great services, they are not secure connections and your sensitive information could be at risk. It is always best to avoid using public Wi-Fi when entering sensitive passwords or completing financial transactions online.

 

While the risk is low, there is always the chance that keystroke loggers being installed in public places offering Wi-Fi or even a fellow lodger in your hotel who is a seasoned hacker looking to make a quick buck.

 

Now that you know the top 3 money mistakes to avoid while traveling, you can plan accordingly to keep your money safe and enjoy your much-deserved vacation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why not to exchange one foreign currency to another? (Cross Rate Exchange)

What is cross rate exchange? A cross rate exchange is the exchange rate between two unofficial currencies from the country  where you’re obtaining an exchange rate quote from.  Foreign exchange traders use this term when neither currency is the US Dollar. For example: The exchange rate between the Euro and the Japanese Yen is considered a cross exchange rate (when the local currency is neither Euro not Japanese Yen).

cross exchange

Why is this type of exchange discouraged when travelling ?

Say you are a resident of the UK and want to exchange the excess Euros from your holiday to Spain into US Dollars for your next holiday. So if you decide to do transaction in the UK, then the vendor will first exchange Euros into Great British Pounds (GBP). Then they will change the GBP to US Dollars.
This type of transaction can result the customer a rather high cost. When you exchange EUR to USD, your EUR will be used to first purchase the official currency of the UK, the  GBP,  with a markup and then the USD will be sold to you with another markup; so technically you will be charged twice and potentially two commissions.

What is the alternative to the cross rate exchange in the above situation?

If you need USD, to travel to the United States, it is better to wait until you arrive in the USA to exchange your funds. The EUR is a major currency in the United States and the exchange rate will likely be competitive , thereby giving you a better exchange rate (assuming you will not do this exchange in a high commission location such as the airport).

So, if you are in the UK and have excess EUR that you want to get rid of, make sure you exchange it into GBP only, as this is the official currency of the UK.  The EUR is a major currency in the UK and competitive rates are available at many currency exchange businesses. There will always be commissions and fees for exchanging currencies outside of the major banks, however the rate of exchange is usually better at money service businesses that will make up for the added fees.