In a decisive move to combat online fraud and financial crimes, the Bangladesh Bank has issued comprehensive guidelines for merchant acquiring, mandating stringent scrutiny before onboarding sellers. The “Guidelines for Merchant Acquiring and Escrow Services 2023” apply to banks, mobile financial services, payment service providers (PSPs), and payment system operators, requiring them to establish detailed onboarding policies.
These policies will include guidelines for verifying documents, assessing risks, managing risks, offering escrow services, handling refunds, monitoring merchant activities, and resolving disputes. This proactive measure is a response to the emergence of e-commerce platforms that resemble Ponzi schemes and attracted unsuspecting customers with significant discounts during the pandemic.
In the previous year, Bangladesh’s central bank exposed a concerning situation involving 25 online retailers, including well-known entities like Evaly, E-orange, and Qcoom. These sellers remarkably amassed a total of Tk 6,050 crore in just four months through transactions processed via banks and online payment gateways.
Regrettably, many customers who became victims of these fraudulent operations are still awaiting the delivery of the products they purchased or the rightful refunds they owe. This revelation underscores the urgent need for stricter regulation and enhanced consumer protection in the online commerce sector. It highlights the risks consumers face in digital transactions and emphasizes the crucial role of transparency and accountability in rebuilding trust among online shoppers.
Recognizing the inherent risks associated with merchants, especially in e-commerce and online businesses, the Bangladesh Bank has mandated acquirers to collect a comprehensive set of documents from sellers. These include personal identification, business licenses, and other crucial information aimed at ensuring transparency and accountability.
Moreover, the guidelines emphasize the critical importance of continuous risk analysis. This proactive measure aims to thwart money laundering, fraudulent activities, and terrorist financing while safeguarding the interests of consumers.
The Bangladesh Bank’s latest guidelines represent a significant stride towards a more secure and transparent online marketplace. By implementing rigorous scrutiny and documentation, the central bank seeks to create an environment where customers can shop online with confidence, free from the specter of fraud and financial misconduct.
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