EghtesadOnline: The nationwide payment settlement network, Shaparak, announced Wednesday that it continues blocking Iranian Point of Sale devices operating abroad.
Extending a series of efforts launched since last winter to clamp down on the illegal activities of such payment instruments overseas, the key payment regulator said it has blocked more than 1,750 devices so far.
The widespread blocking came after the Central Bank of Iran enforced a decision in February to ban such systems in foreign countries spurred by growing concern that access to such devices was helping the huge outflow of money and disruption in the domestic financial market.
“All transactions are under continuous monitoring through different methods to prevent any misdoings by using the overseas POS terminals”, Shaparak said on its website, according to Financial Tribune.
The move was seen as part of broader measures undertaken by the CBI to stabilize the volatile currency market, curb capital flight, fight money laundering and avert suspicious transactions using the payment network.
Mehdi Toubaei, deputy for development and supervisory affairs at Shaparak, had earlier warned that foreign POS machines that use Iranian IP addresses would be blocked.
He said Shaparak and other electronic payment systems will track and block devices that use the Virtual Private Network to alter their IP address to Iran.
The payment regulator said it continues efforts to curtail the activities of POS overseas, reminding obligations of electronic payment companies to limit services to such devices and the possible prosecutions if they fail to comply.
Through regular monitoring, Payment Service Providers have identified and blocked 1,500 devices, according to Shaparak.
Resorting to assorted methods, Shaparak itself has managed to block the activities of more than 250 devices abroad.
In the first round of blockings after implementation of the CBI directive, Shapark said it had identified and later blocked the operations of 1,304 POS devices by the end of the previous fiscal year in March 2019.
CBI Governor Abdolnaser Hemmati has criticized the existence of POS devices in neighboring countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan as well as in western countries, saying that currency trade by exchange bureaux in those countries is fueling capital flight.
In a similar move last December, the CBI issued a directive ordering banks and credit institutions to abide by the restrictions it set on money transactions.
The directive allowed a maximum 500 million rials in daily transaction for a single debit card and up to 1 billion rials for any national ID number. In other words, each card holder is allowed to purchase up to one billion rials via POS devices with one debt card.
Akbar Komijani, the CBI deputy cheif, rated the restrictions “successful” in curbing speculative activities in the chaotic currency market.