April 09 2009
On February 6 2008 the Supervisory Council of the Bank of Albania issued Decision 11, approving the new regulation on electronic payment instruments. The regulation substituted and abrogated the bank's December 2000 regulation on electronic payments. The new regulation aims to improve the framework for the issue and use of electronic payment instruments, as part of the bank's implementation of a function to create and supervise the secure and efficient operation of the payments system in Albania.
The purpose of the regulation is to set out:
The revision of the old regulation aimed to adopt the best standards regarding the issue and use of electronic payment instruments in accordance with EU directives and recommendations and the best practice standards of the central banks of other European countries.
The regulation defines the types of electronic payment instrument as either instruments of distance payments or instruments of e-money.
The new regulation differs from the old in that it regulates the relationship between the bank and the merchant, using special provisions. To implement the agreements between the banks and international credit card companies, such as Visa and Mastercard, the bank may conduct the role of issuer (in relation to the holder of the electronic payment instrument), receiver (in relation to the merchant), or both roles simultaneously.
The scheme is based on the regulations of the Single Euro Payment Area project, which entered into force in the European Union on January 28 2008. The regulation defines the terms and minimum conditions that a bank must comply with in its contracts with merchants in order to safeguard transparency towards the client (ie, the holder of the electronic payment instrument).
The aims of the supervision of the implementation of merchants' obligations regarding the acceptance of electronic payments from the receiver bank that enters into an agreement with the merchant are to increase the efficiency of the payment instruments and to protect the consumer during the electronic payment process.
The regulation explains, with special provisions, the characteristics of electronic money, the types of electronic money instrument and the relationships between the contracting parties.
E-money instruments are new in the field of electronic payment services. The experience of foreign countries and EU recommendations acknowledge the right to issue e-money to e-money institutions (ie, non-banking financial institutions or companies). It dedicates considerable attention to the monitoring of non-banking electronic money institutions for the protection of the consumer. No bank in Albania has yet issued electronic money, but the regulation aims to create a framework for the issue of e-money instruments.
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