The decision of the Central Bank to set December 1 as the expiration date for the use of the national immediate debit payment system – known as Debin – opened another tug-of-war between the Government and the Mercado Pago companyled by businessman Marcos Galperin.
It is not the first time that the founder of Mercado Libre, a multinational that emerged in Argentina and is considered one of the 100 most influential companies in the world, has linked up with national officials or Kirchnerist leaders due to the impact of official decisions.
Now, it felt affected by a communication that forces virtual wallets such as Mercado Pago to discontinue the use of Debin to make payments and instead use the immediate transfer service called “pull”, which in its opinion, offers obstacles. For the users.
In other words, the BCRA established that this system must be the only flow that entities and payment service providers that offer accounts indicated as PSP must offer their clients for the funding of money that involves extracting pesos from another own account ( payment at sight).
In Argentina there are about 60 companies that provide this service. Although Mercado Pago is the one with the largest number of clients (4.4 million), others are also strong. Orange X, for example, has 2.7 million accounts with a balance, that is, it remunerates its holders every day.
The BCRA’s decision, which for Galperin’s company is due to pressure from the banks, establishes that virtual wallets must present to the monetary authority an adaptation plan that details how all users who use Debin will migrate to “pull”. ”.
The entity headed by Miguel Pesce argues that immediate debit should only be used to make spot payments, that is, at the time a purchase is made, and not for “recurring” payments. The argument is to avoid fraud.
Recurring payments are those where the holder of a virtual wallet account agrees with a third party to deduct the amount with a certain frequency, without requiring any other authorization.
The same communication requires Compensadora Electrónica SA (Coelsa), administrator of the Debin scheme, to disable the “recurring” system for funding accounts of the same owner as of the indicated date, that is, the first day of December.
Recurring debits (which in turn can only be issued by those who are not users of financial services) must require that the receiving client expressly authorize debits on their account at the time of carrying out the first operation.
It also establishes other inhibitions for the use of digital wallets and sets a daily limit for “pull” transfers equivalent to 2,500 units of UVA purchasing value (as of this Tuesday about $825 thousand).
“Attack on inclusion”
Galperin saw the banks perched on that idea, something that the entities reject, without entering into the controversy. “Due to a Central Bank rule that was promoted by traditional banks, more than 4 million people are going to have difficulties depositing money into their Mercado Pago digital account,” this company posted on its Twitter account.
He assured that the “pull” transfer system has flaws. “In our tests, 9 out of 10 people are unable to deposit money into their accounts as they are forced to go through multiple steps in their home banking and even, with some banks, to go to an ATM.”
And he described the regulations as “a new attack on financial inclusion, it will negatively affect the experience of millions of people and will induce the use of cash.” “We hope that a solution is found that does not harm Mercado Pago users,” he concluded.
Then, when responding to a post by a journalist who on the same social network complained that the Government aims to break the virtual wallet business, Galperin himself reinforced: “They did not break it, and they will not be able to break it either.” ”.
The interpretation of the Mercado Libre group is that the banks of the system and the Government seek to curtail the inclusion of people who otherwise would not be able to operate in the financial system and even less obtain remuneration for the funds that remain pending with the receipt of interest ( today close to 100% annually).
The situation is being evaluated by those responsible for other virtual wallets, but until this Tuesday night they had not expressly bowed to Galperin’s position.
The one who did do so was the former president of the Central Bank during Mauricio Macri’s administration, Federico Sturzenegger. “Mercado Pago put together a scheme where people can, from an application, transfer their accounts to Mercado Pago. Until then, no one made any complaints. The topic became interesting when Mercado Pago decided to pay a high interest rate on that account,” Sturzenegger assessed.
And he pointed out the intention of the banks. “Here was something that not only worked, but also generated value for millions of Argentines. Making their lives more difficult is not the way,” he stressed.
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