Anti-money laundering unit issues new rules for credit cards, traveler's checks

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Argentina's anti-money laundering unit - Unidad de Información Financiera (UIF) - has issued new rules regarding the credit card industry and traveler's checks, to prevent suspicious activity related to money laundering and financing of terrorism, local press reported.

For the first time, credit card companies will have to report to UIF any cardholder activity that might be considered unusual or suspicious. Companies will also have to register all credit card and traveler's check financial activities.

Card holders that have purchase limits between 5,000 (US$1,254) and 20,000 pesos will have to inform credit card companies, via a legalized document, about the origins of their funds. Credit cards above the 20,000-peso limit will have to give proof of the legality of such funds.

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The new UIF rules follow criticism from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF-GAFI) in October 2010 of the low level of anti-money laundering controls in Argentina. Since then, the federal government has taken several measures regarding this issue and mandated UIF to coordinate all efforts.

Argentina has seen peso shortages in recent weeks, as unofficial inflation figures in the country have been near 25%, even while the central bank publishes official figures near 10%. Central bank data has also suggested rising credit card debt in response to the peso shortage.

To read the UIF's resolution in full, in Spanish, go to this link