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New law passed to encourage development of payment systems in Belarus

MINSK ( BelTA) – A law on payment systems and payment services has been published in the National Register of Legal Acts of the Republic of Belarus. Representatives of the National Bank of Belarus explained what the new document is designed to regulate, BelTA has learned.

The law stipulates approaches to payment services, requirements for payment systems and payment market participants.

The law is designed to improve access to and quality of payment services for individuals, reduce payment costs for corporations, create and develop national payment systems and payment tools, ensure a comprehensive approach to information security for all participants of the payment market, attract non-banking organizations to the market, and create new jobs.

The document defines the basic concepts of the payment market including terms such as payment system, payment service, payment service provider as well as requirements for new participants of the payment market and their top managers. Clear and transparent rights and obligations of payment service providers and their users are established as well as a clear system for monitoring payment activities, including by strengthening the powers of the central bank to oversee payment service providers.

The law specifies requirements for every kind of payment service providers in order to prevent money laundering, financing of terrorist activities, and financing of the propagation of weapons of mass destruction. The norms must be observed by all payment systems in Belarus' territory, including international payment systems, processing and clearing centers, which had been previously unaffected by the legislation. The law also regulates the acceptance of payments intended for third parties. Equal conditions are enabled for Belarusian and foreign aggregators (Yandex, Uber, AliExpress, Booking.com, and other ones).

A new payment tool is introduced – a payment application – to allow users to considerably simplify the initialization of payments regardless of the bank and the payment system. The range of entities able to issue electronic money has been expanded.

The law will come into force four months after its official publication. The time is allocated for specifying various requirements in regulatory acts of the Council of Ministers and the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus. The realization of the law will allow increasing the effectiveness, reliability, and safety of operation of the payment system in Belarus.