On behalf of all of us at Clear View Systems, we wish you the best during the holiday season!
What are cryptocurrencies?
Put simply, cryptocurrencies are digital assets – but what does that mean exactly?
Some are finding it a little difficult to understand – but the simplest way of putting it, is that it allows transactions to take place over the internet, in a secure format, without the need for a central authority or any banks.
By analogy it is like sending a golden coin through email and only the intended recipient will be able to accept this payment.
It promises security, anonymity, and ease of use. Decentralized cryptocurrency is produced by the whole cryptocurrency system communally, at a rate which is well-defined when the system is fashioned and which is openly known.
What is a Bitcoin and how can I use it?
Bitcoin practices peer-to-peer technology to function with no fundamental authority or bank being involved, so it is said to be a cheaper alternative as it cuts out middlemen. The handling, dealing, and the supply of bitcoins is agreed cooperatively, by the network.
Therefore, it is a consensus network that allows a new payment system and a totally digital type of money. As Bitcoin was the first practical implementation, it is widely used and it is currently, the most prominent triple entry bookkeeping system at present.
Current innovations in cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, and others are just the beginning for this technology that can help renovate many industries. There is plenty of opportunity in this space and we’ve taken this on board for 2017.
CurrencyXchanger can now update Bitcoin rates using the BTC or XBT codes. Many large companies worldwide are increasingly accepting Bitcoins.
For more information on how you can purchase our comprehensive currency software, feel free to contact us about how your business can benefit from our popular currency exchange software.
If you are flying with a large sum of cash, or other currency like traveller’s checks, money orders, and bearer bonds, you should check the legalities and custom regulations for the country you are traveling to.
Most countries rely on the traveler to declare any currency exceeding 10,000 USD, EUR, GBP or the equivalent.
Rules and restrictions on traveling with money will vary by country around the world. Be sure to check those laws and regulations before you fly, and if necessary make alternative plans before you fly.
Canadian Law on traveling with large amount of money
In Canada, the limit is 10,000 CAD which is roughly 7500 USD. However, this is not to say that you are not allowed to travel with more cash than this.
There are no laws limiting the amount of cash that you can travel with through the airports. So even if you have 20,000 USD, you are still allowed to take it with you as long as you declare it.
Declaring money when traveling within United States
If you are on a domestic flight in the United States, then there is no limit as to how much cash or monetary values that you can carry. Once again, if you are in doubt, speak to the TSA before your travels.
Once at the airport, the TSA (Transport Security Administration) may ask a passenger who is carrying a lot of cash to account for the money. If the TSA suspects that the money is related to some kind of criminal activity such as drug trafficking or money laundering, they may turn the issue over to a law enforcement agency (TSA has no law enforcement powers).
UK Law on declaring large sums of money at the airport
If you are planning on traveling from the UK to outside of the EU, then you must once again, declare €10,000 or more to customs. You are allowed to take this amount without notifying customs to countries within the EU.
All cash varieties will be included in this, such as, notes, coins, bankers’ drafts and cheques of any kind.
Also, remember, that if you are traveling as a family your funds can still not exceed to more than €10,000,
If you must carry a large amount of money with you, then it is advised that you never put your cash, financial instruments, or precious metals in a checked bag. You also have to be prepared to declare the source of your funds and the reason for carrying the cash to custom officers.
If you’re carrying more than 10k currency then keep it in sight (carry-on bag) and if your carry-on baggage must be searched, insist on keeping your bag in sight, whilst it is being checked.
If asked about the amount of money in your baggage by a TSA agent or other responsible authority, always tell the truth.
If you suspect that you have been a victim of theft, contact an airport police officer or other law enforcement representative immediately (remember that TSA agents are not law enforcement agents)
When in doubt, always declare or ask an officer at the airport.
The world of foreign exchange is a competitive one right? And with that, comes regulations, rules and audits to ensure that any Money Service Business (MSB) is complying to the new government Anti-Money Laundering AML regulations. “Compliance” is a term used to encompass all systematic methodologies used to conform with these regulations.
What is the definition of a Money Service Business?
Money Service Businesses (MSBs) are businesses offering check cashing, money orders, travellers checks, money transfer and remittance services, currency dealing or exchange, and pre-paid access (formerly stored value) products. In Canada, the regulatory body is called FINTRAC, which stands for Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada.
It is therefore more important than ever that your financial institution has a robust and comprehensive AML audit process to measure and govern your AML program’s compliance with applicable AML and BSA laws and regulations.
Auditing is a normal process completed by all financial institutions in some capacity. It can be done by internal staff and self-governing third parties, and typically it is approached from a financial viewpoint.
Distinct from the usual financial audit, which concentrates more on the number of reconciliations and number crunching, AML audits look at program compliance and the operative, timely completion of daily tasks.
AML audits need to identify shortages, breaches, and weaknesses that may exist in the content, controls, and operations of the AML program. In this context, content is defined as having a written policy, procedures, training, monitoring, and reporting.
A consequence of ineffective auditing may lead to potential AML violations, such as failing to report suspicious activity or collecting the proper customer identification documents. An AML enforcement action by a regulator can cost a financial institution a fortune – both in standings of reputational damage and monetary penalties.
So how can you ensure you pass your AML audit with flying colours?
AML exams can be nerve-wracking. You’re working around the clock to ensure that your Money Service Business is doing an outstanding job of catching suspicious activity at your institution. However, when the audit rolls around, you are still nervous because it’s hard to know exactly what the regulators are expecting.
Fortunately, we are here to help. Use these tips to help prepare for your next AML audit.
If you can get these basics in place, you will be well on your way to passing your AML audit with flying colours.
For your next AML Compliance audit make sure you have the following documents in order:
- Your comprehensive risk assessment document will be required in the audit
- Method of risk assessments, especially how to determine high risk customers, PEPs and MSBs
- Solutions for generated audit reports
- Proof of AML training for you and your staff – a training log book should be sufficient
- Written policies and procedures, which includes the compliance manual (Compliance Regiment)
- FINTRAC outline that corporate customer’s documents should be fully complete, including their registration and shareholder structure.
- KYC due diligence – so all customer information should be entered electronically into your record-keeping system, including their occupation, date of birth, address etc.
- Prepare the selected queries as requested in the auditor’s letter well in advance
- Ask all your staff members to review their documents and materials and prepare them for interviews
- Note the methods of determining high risk customers
- Proof of Enhanced Customer Due Diligence (ECDD, or EDD) for high risk transactions and customers. The EDD include such Proof of Address, Source of Funds, Purpose of Transaction, Third party determination, PEP determination.
- Proof that your software checks the name of your regular customers against the sanction lists. You can obtain this proof by asking your software provider.
- Have your F2R reports available on request and ensure all confirmation numbers have been entered into your electronic system
For further help and advice on your AML audit, contact us for a chat.
Many people will ask, should I buy my holiday currency at home or abroad, when traveling to an exotic destination?
Some examples of exotic destinations for travel:
Buying Exotic Currency
Examples of some exotic currency can be, the Thai Baht, the South African Rand, Singapore Dollar, and many more.
Here’s the simple answer: When you are dealing with an exotic currency then you will almost always have the higher valued currency. This can lead to a higher exchange rate at home due to a wider spread between the currency pairs. Simply, this means you stand to lose more money buying your foreign currency at your home destination; especially if your home currency is a major world currency such as USD, GBP, JPY, CAD, AUD, NZD, or EUR.
Before you go anywhere though, it’s always best to do a little research of your own. Find out about whether there are any currency restrictions for taking the money in or out of the country (an example of this is Egypt). Find out if you can use a credit or debit card and whether you can easily find ATM machines.
We advise that in exotic destinations where your home currency is often valued higher, the majority of your money should be exchanged when you arrive at the destination.
You’ll often need money right away
As soon as you land in a foreign country, the chances of needing the local currency is high – you may need to get a taxi to your hotel, a drink or two or you might want to sort out a meal. That is why many people like to take at least a small amount of money in the local currency with them to their destination. Luckily though, the growing propagation of ATMs around the world means that the local currency is usually as close as the nearest cash machine, especially if you’re flying into a major international airport.
Example of buying Exotic currency
If a holiday-goer from the UK plans to go to Thailand for their holiday, then they will need to exchange their Great British Pound (GBP) into Thai Baht.
The Thai Baht is widely stocked by many suppliers outside of Thailand and therefore it wouldn’t be difficult for the holiday-goer to exchange all of their money whilst at home.
But we advise that you should exchange most of your holiday money in Thailand!
This is because, rates obtained when on holiday in Thailand will always be higher and the likes of Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket being large airports, will have many ATM machines on arrival. Be aware though, your bank may charge you an extra fee when withdrawing foreign currency and you will receive your banks exchange rate at the exact time of your withdrawal. Cash exchanges in Thailand charge no commission or fees at all and they are very common and clearly marked with visible signs, with daily rates on their electronic currency exchange boards.
Credit and debit cards have modern flair, but cold, hard cash is still an international traveler’s best friend.
But how do you even get foreign currency these days? How much cash should you take? And whatever happened to travelers checks? We talked with currency expert Bruce Beattie, owner of Foreign Currency Exchange in Birmingham, who keeps close watch on travel money issues around the world.
QUESTION: Why would an international traveler need cash at all? Isn’t cash old-fashioned?
ANSWER: “Cash is still critical for emergencies and for smaller purchases where you can’t use a debit or credit card,” he says. “Have some foreign currency so if you arrive at an airport and can’t find an ATM, you have enough money for a taxi, train or a bottle of water at least.”
Q: But can’t I just use my debit or credit card abroad? I have one with no foreign transaction fees.
A: U.S. credit cards still do not work everywhere in the world or work in strange ways, he says. For instance, “Germany is still largely a cash country even though it is the biggest euro zone,” he says. “You can’t charge a cup of coffee there. They want cash for anything under $30, basically.”
Sometimes, even a no-fee credit card will register overseas as a cash advance, incurring fees. Sometimes, your credit card simply won’t work, even if it has chip and pin technology. Always take backup cards. And, of course, cash.
Global regulators are “hearing but not listening” to the currency market’s calls about how to put a stop to foreign exchange manipulation, according to the CEO of a currency trading platform.
David Mercer, CEO of LMAX Exchange, which trades $10 billion (£7.5 billion) in currency daily after only launching 5 years’ ago, told Business Insider that he met with US and UK regulators on plans to improve market transparency.
However, he says that the market has become disillusioned with regulatory initiatives over the last two years.
“We’ve engaged with the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority, the Bank of International Settlements (known as the central banks’ central bank), the Bank of England about the Fair and Effective Markets Review (FEMR), and the New York Fed, and they definitely hear but they don’t listen. It’s disappointing,” said Mercer.
“The biggest [area] for abuse in the FX market is ‘last look’ and the lack of transparency of who is trading with whom since most of of FX is done trading over-the-counter (OTC). The regulators are just papering over the cracks of a broken mechanism that is open to abuse.”
“Last look” gives liquidity providers the option to reject a trader’s order, even if it matches up with the trader’s quoted price. If the order is rejected, the price for the order can “slip,” putting the trader at a disadvantage.
After the U.K. recently voted to leave the European Union, Brexit spurred many Americans into suddenly considering the value of the U.S. dollar. Too often, however, even experienced travelers don’t always contemplate all currency conversion options, or when they do it’s at the last minute.
Like many other travel decisions, choosing how to spend money overseas involves a bit of research and an examination of personal choices. The key is making such decisions in advance.
A group of Japanese financial institutions is looking to create a blockchain-based platform they could leverage to cut costs on domestic and foreign exchange services.
Announced today, initial members include the Bank of Yokohama and SBI Sumishin Net Bank. Those involved in the effort will work with distributed ledger tech startup Ripple to develop the platform.
SBI Holdings, which owns SBI Sumishin Net Bank and has invested in startups working with the technology in the past, said in a statement that as many as 15 banks are expected to take part in the initiative when it formally launches in October.
One evening in April, Dave Winston stood in a convenience store in suburban Charlotte, N.C., uneasily shoving $20 bills into a slim automated-teller machine unlike any he had ever seen. He was buying bitcoin, a digital currency unknown to him a few hours earlier, before hackers took over his computer.
Mr. Winston, crew chief with the Circle Sport-Leavine Family Nascar race team, is among a growing number of victims of a pernicious type of malicious software called ransomware, which has earned millions of dollars for cybercriminals by encrypting computer files and holding them hostage.
Ransomware dates to the late 1980s, but attacks spiked this year amid the growing use of bitcoin and improved encryption software. Malicious code turned Mr. Winston’s Excel spreadsheets and Word documents into unreadable gobbledygook, and hackers told him to pay $500 in bitcoin to unscramble them.