Feeds

Treasury asks for advice on eMoney

Who'd want to be a banker these days?

Security for virtualized datacentres

The UK Treasury is consulting on the whos and hows of electronic money, and opening the door for network operators who'd prefer to think of themselves as banks.

The consultation asks how the Treasury should regulate companies who issue electronic representations of cash, and what guarantees such companies should be required to provide while they're looking after our money. This is all with a view to letting mobile network operators, and everyone else, issue pre-paid tokens that can be used for anything we like.

Single-function tokens are already exempted from banking regulations - no one wants gift tokens to be subject to the same burden of legislation as banks - and the new category of electronic money will fit somewhere between the two. How to go about putting companies into categories is one of the things with which the Treasury would like help, with banks facing the full burden, e-money vendors a lighter load and gift tokens continuing in their current form.

For e-money companies that legislation includes allowing punters to reclaim their cash, or any part of it, at any time and forever - just as banks are obliged to keep track of abandoned bank accounts. There is a suggested six-year cut-off, but as it wouldn't apply to banks, or bank-issued pre-payment cards, it's not very fair.

Somewhere between £5m and £7.5m is abandoned annually from pre-payment cards – to the benefit of those running the systems. The Treasury reckons much of that is down to having a few quid left on the end of a card, which is why companies will be required to refund even small amounts on request.

And you'll be able to store more money too - the current limit of €150 is to be removed, though companies will still be required to do some due diligence before issuing tokens worth more than €250, or rechargable tokens that process more than €2,500 a year. That means you can lose more too, depending on the policy of the company running the service.

Those companies, or "Electronic Money Institutions" as they will be known, have a responsibility to provide insurance, and some liquidity, so it will be up to the insurance companies to consider the levels of security necessary, and how much the company can be trusted.

Mobile network operators will be well-placed in both regards, being in possession of huge amounts of collateral in terms of radio spectrum and infrastructure, and already having the infrastructure to accept and process pre-payments as well as skirting the existing legislation as their pre-payment systems can already be used to pay for music, movies and applications (hardly limited to a single company, or industry). They've also flirted with Near Field Communications on more than one occasion, which is why the new consultation is of such interest to NFC World and its ilk.

The consultation closes at the end of November, and it won't be long after that we'll see network operators lining up to become Electronic Money Institutions. Whether they can make a go of that business is a more complicated question. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Why Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had to go ... Except he hasn't
Silicon Valley's veteran seadog in piratical Putin impression
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.