Banks call for Pix rule changes to prevent kidnappings and robberies

Banks are asking the BC (Central Bank) to relax the rules of Pix, the Brazilian system of instant payments, to make it more difficult for criminals to act.

After the launch of the new payment method in November of last year, crooks have taken advantage of Pix’s ease and speed to apply scams or to ask the victim to transfer large amounts quickly during robberies or kidnappings.

According to the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper, one of the institutions’ requests is for the BC to give the banks freedom to negotiate with customers the transfer and payment limits within the system.

Currently, the bank needs to offer on Pix the same limit granted for TED (Electronic Transfer Available). The customer can, based on this amount, ask to increase or decrease it, but the bank cannot take the initiative.

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A financial market source explained, on condition of anonymity, that in addition to being able to send the money instantly to another account, usually an orange one, this money is spread over several other accounts, which makes it difficult for the police to trace it.

In addition, the TED settlement, when the money lands in the recipient’s account, is done within 20 minutes during business hours, while the Pix settlement is done on the spot.

Banks also want the limit to be negotiated by transaction channel, with different values ​​for transactions made by cell phone, computer or ATM. In addition, it must be adjusted by the time when the movement is carried out. Thus, the institution can determine that the maximum amount is smaller at dawn, for example.

Another demand from the sector is that the bank has up to 24 hours to respond when the customer asks to raise the limit within the Pix. Currently, the maximum time limit is one hour. The argument is that the current rule allows the bad guy to wait until the victim is able to increase the maximum transaction amount in order to take more money.

The source stated that the BC has been in dialogue with the financial institutions, but that it has not yet indicated whether it will comply with the requests.

Folha de S.Paulo showed that criminals have increasingly used Pix.

According to intelligence data from the São Paulo government, together these two criminal modalities, since December last year, 202 crimes have been registered in the state of São Paulo in which victims reported the use of Pix by criminals during the robbery.

In the first four months since the appearance of this type of crime (between December 2020 and March 2021), 51 bulletins have been registered across the state. From April to July, records jumped to 151 cases.

In May of this year, for example, almost 30% of lightning kidnappings were carried out using this transfer modality -9 of the 32 cases registered in that period.

Febraban (Brazilian Federation of Banks) stated, in a statement, that its member banks prioritize the preservation of the security of their customers and is “constantly helping the Central Bank to improve product regulations by implementing features that always bring a better perception by customers and users”.

“In this sense, concerned with the increase in cases involving public security issues, this Federation is in contact with the technical teams of the Central Bank so that additional measures for security improvements in financial transfers are regulated as soon as possible,” he continued.

“In addition, Febraban remembers that it continues to contribute with the police authorities so that all these crimes can be identified and thanks to the traceability feature of Pix, allowing the identification of the people involved and consequent accountability”, he added.

Febraban recommends that customers ask their bank to reduce the limit available for transactions via the application or the internet.

Sought, the BC did not respond until the conclusion of this text.