Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Strange discussions

Viviane Reding http://europa.eu.int/comm/internal_market/bank/docs/e-money/guidance_en.pdf
* Following the extensive consultation process that the Commission has undertaken, it is appropriate that the Commission services draw some conclusions and make these public. However, it is not intended to provide a binding interpretation of the treatment of mobile phone operators.

* The BAC concluded in December 2003 that e-money is now being issued under some circumstances by mobile phone operators to their pre-paid customers when those customers purchase some third party services and pay for them using their pre-paid store of value.

* Although there is a school of thought that suggests that no e-money is created when pre-paid customers use their store of value with mobile operators to purchase third party services, othercommentators agree that e-money is created when the monetary value stored on a pre-paid card is accepted as payment by a third party merchant in line with Article 1.3(b)(iii) of the Directive. The Commission services support this view

* The Commission services therefore suggest that when Member State authorities conduct an analysis of whether a mobile operator or other ‘hybrid’ institution is engaged in the issuance of e-money, they consider the form of direct payment relationship between a mobile customer and a third party vendor. This payment relationship may be established when either: a) there is a direct transfer of e-value (as far as the Commission services understand, this may be technically feasible for mobile handsets); orb) the mobile operator acts as a facilitator (or intermediary) in the payment mechanism in such a way that customer and merchant would also have a direct debtor-creditor relationship.