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EghtesadOnline: The Central Bank of has announced new regulations for issuing gift cards by banks compatible with the Anti-Money Laundering law.

Banks and credit institutions are allowed to sell gift cards only for customers who have a deposit account with the issuer bank, the CBI said in a press released published on its website on Saturday.

Banks are obliged to critically asses and identify risks before giving financial services and customers wanting to buy gift cards should present documents when applying.

"Banks need to keep track of the customers' ID and the gift cards sold so that transactions can monitored with ease."

The CBI also increased the cap for gift cards from 5 million rials to 20 million rials. The minimum value of gift cards is one million rials.

Moreover lenders can issue gift cards with a maximum expiry period of two years. Formerly, this was one year. Lenders are obliged to return the unused balance to the holder after the gift card expires.

Banks are also barred from selling gift cards to applicants with bounced check, those whose accounts are blocked irrespective of the reasons, those who refuse to provide proper ID and those on Iran's list of sanctions.  

The total value of issued gift cards must tally with the daily cash payment set by the regulator. Selling cards over and above the ceiling is prohibited.

Iranian banks currently issue credit cards, debit cards and gift cards.

As per the latest data, more than 118.8 million bank cards were used at least once in the calendar to August 22. Debit cards topped the list accounting for 95% (113.63 million) of total active cards.

During the month, 5.52 million gift cards were used at least once during the month.  Eighteen percent of gift cards were issued by Bank Mellat, Bank Melli was next with 13% followed by Parsian Bank 13%.

The amended AML Law was signed by former president Hassan Rouhani in 2018 after approval by several entities, namely specialized committees in the government, parliament, the constitutional watchdog Guardians Council and the top arbiter, the Expediency Council.


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