JULY 15, 2021

Boletín del Departamento Fintech | Novedades Legales Fintech en Argentina | Edición N°17.


In this bulletin, you will find a selection of the main legal news related to the fintech and digital banking market in Argentina.

The BCRA establishes additional security measures for online operations

Applies to pre-approved loans, DEBIN and electronic wallets.

In recent days, the BCRA issued various measures to combat the growing complaints of fraud in the use of certain electronic contracting and payment products.

In the first place, on July 1st, through the issuance of Communication “A” 7319, the BCRA established that, for the authorization of pre-approved loans through electronic channels, financial entities must reliably verify the identity of the borrower, through positive identification techniques, also granting a 48-hour notice period before the loan is disbursed. This provision was to come into effect on July 9.

On the other hand, on July 8, through Communication “A” 7326, the BCRA obliges financial entities to notify their clients each time they receive a request for DEBIN (immediate debit), whether recurring or spot, which notice must include the following legend in highlight format: “By accepting this transaction, FUNDS WILL BE WITHDRAWN FROM YOUR ACCOUNT for the amount indicated, which will be sent to the person who sent the withdrawal order. Please note that it is NEVER necessary to give an authorization to RECEIVE electronic payments”. This measure will take effect on August 1st.

Finally, regarding electronic wallets, by means of Communication “A” 7328, the BCRA decided that: (i) payment services providers may allow payment-accounts to have more than one account holder; (ii) entities can only associate credit and debit cards, savings or payment accounts or other sources of funds, directly from the account holder; and (iii) entities must provide “strong” identification and authentication mechanisms for the user to access the wallet. These measures seek to prevent that a wallet uses data obtained from third parties in a fraudulent or deceptive way. The deadline for its implementation is August 1 for new accounts and October 31 for existing accounts.

Shortening of the settlement period for debit card operations

In return, the minimum cash requirement is reduced.

After having reformed the settlement deadlines for credit card transactions in one payment, the BCRA has now also made progress with shortening the settlement period for debit card transactions. Thus, through the announcement of a sectoral agreement with the issuing financial entities, the settlement period was reduced to only one (1) business day, when the legal term was three (3) and in practice it had already been reduced to two (2).

In exchange for this measure,  through Communication “A” 7318, the BCRA provided that, as of July 1st, the obligations of financial entities with merchants for sales made through the use of debit and prepaid cards will be excluded from the minimum cash or “compulsory reserve” requirements.

With this measure, the BCRA tries to make the debit card more attractive to merchants, bringing it closer to the functionality of “instant payments” that should be fully operational by the end of this year.

Controversy over changes in credit card settlement deadlines

As a result of the impact on payment “aggregators”.

As we reported in our previous bulletin, last June the BCRA ordered the modification of payment settlement periods with credit and purchase cards in one payment. This modification basically reduced the terms for small businesses and significantly extended it for “large” businesses.

This modification raised the complaint of some “aggregators” of payments, because, since their role as intermediaries is not distinguished in this regulation, they would end up being treated as “large” businesses, lengthening the terms in which they would receive settlements and, therefore, increasing the settlement terms (and costs) for the medium and small businesses that usually operate with them.

Faced with this reaction, the BCRA issued a press release questioning the role of the aggregators, claiming that their commissions are not capped by the Credit Card Law, which, in the opinion of the BCRA, would allow them to absorb the higher costs caused by this measure, without transferring them to medium and small businesses.

Court dismisses a complaint for “fraud” in a case of investments in crypto assets

It considered that the plaintiff was aware of the risk.

Amid the surprise caused by the recent announcement by the BCRA about the investigation of certain crypto operators for alleged unauthorized financial intermediation maneuvers, a recent ruling by Chamber 5 of the National Chamber of Criminal and Correctional Appeals, issued on June 2, rejected the complaint of an investor who claimed to have been scammed by an acquaintance to whom he entrusted funds to invest in crypto assets.

In order to decide so, the Chamber understood that no fraud was configured to mislead the plaintiff and to cause him patrimonial damage. On the contrary, the court held that the circumstances indicate that the complainant voluntarily and knowingly engaged in a high-risk investment, due to its virtual nature and its lack of legal regulation, guided by the profit he hoped to obtain.

Bill for the payment of remuneration in cryptocurrencies.

It would apply to employees and service exporters.

On July 6, Congressman José Luis Ramón submitted bill 2933-D-2021 before Congress, which proposes to empower employees and small service exporters to receive their remuneration in cryptocurrencies.

The project attempts to make inapplicable to these payments the existing restriction in the Labor Contract Law for the payment of wages in kind of more than 20%, as well as to clear up doubts regarding the obligation to bring to Argentina payments of exports of services that are cancelled with crypto assets.

In principle, the project foresees its optional application for those workers who receive an initial remuneration higher than 3 minimum wages, and to service exporters whose annual turnover does not exceed 100,000 mobile units under Law 27,442 on Antitrust.

The probability that the project will be approved is not yet known, but it somehow makes visible a certain practice that the market has been adopting in recent times, especially in the technology sector.

Regulatory provisions regarding ECHEQs and Electronic Invoices

Aiming to expand their functionalities.

During the month of June, regulations continued to be issued to expand the functionalities of electronic checks (ECHEQs) and electronic invoices.

With regard to ECHEQs, the Interbank Chamber of Payment Means (CIMPRA) issued its Bulletin 528 on June 24, through which it made clarifications regarding electronic guarantees and mandates for collection management and negotiation of ECHEQs .

Regarding electronic invoices, on June 25, the BCRA issued Communication “A” 7314, which created the Central of Electronic Credit Invoices unpaid at maturity (CenFIV).

This bulletin contains summaries of standards that are published and to which we refer. They are in no way complete or imply legal advice. If you require legal advice, please contact us.