After pressure from financial institutions due to the increase in the number of crimes and frauds through Pix, the Central Bank released, yesterday afternoon, a package of measures to increase the security of the means of instant payment, launched at the beginning of the year. new decisions should take effect within two weeks, and one of them limits the value of transfers between 8 pm and 6 am the following day to R$1,000. This nightly limit is also valid for interbank transfers, payments with debit cards and settlement of TEDs. During the day, the maximum value of operations via Pix will have the customer limit for TEDs as a reference, according to the monetary authority.
The customer can reduce the values of daily or nightly transfers at any time through the app, and the change will be made immediately. But if you want to increase the limit, the change will take at least 24 and a maximum of 48 hours. This change, however, will still depend on the authorization of the financial institution, which will assess the profile of the client and recipient, analyzing the risks, according to the BC.
In recent weeks, there have been several warnings against the increased action of criminals to extort money from bank customers. At night, when the highest number of flash hijackings usually occurs, and because of that, the maximum value of Pix transactions used to be the debit card’s withdrawal limit. The rules varied by institution, but to increase this limit through the app, the update used to take an hour or take place the next business day.
“These measures produce some inconveniences, but we understand that the benefits will be much greater than the costs. We are completely confident that the changes will not reduce interest through electronic payments”, said the director of the Financial System Organization and Resolution, Joo Manoel Pinho de Mello. He said that the institution that does not follow the new rules may be sanctioned by the monetary authority. If the client does not request changes, the limits determined by the BC will be the ones that will apply when the new rules are implemented.
The objective of the package of measures, according to him, is to discourage criminals, “without harming the usability of the PIX for the majority of participants in the tool”.
According to BC’s Director of Inspection, Paulo Souza, for every 100,000 transfers with Pix, one has an indication of fraud, considering the period from November 2020 to August of this year. As a result, there are 38 thousand transfers identified with signs of fraud with Pix in a universe of 3.8 billion transactions. “Of these 38 thousand occurrences in the base, 0.6% involved crimes against people and kidnappings”, he said. “Regardless of the relatively low number, we want security for the entire Brazilian population”, added Souza.
In the assessment of Joo Manoel Pinho, the cost of changes to the Pix should not be very relevant for financial institutions in order to increase the cost for clients. “Now, we have to admit that, whenever there is a cost, society may pay. The cost of insecurity associated with the transaction with physical money is enormous, of R$ 10 billion, not counting the loss of human life, with the suffering of crimes involving money”, said the director. For him, cash is the main mechanism of insecurity, and not traceable to the police like Pix. “. It is important to remember that electronic transactions increase security”, he added.
According to BC, customers will be able to determine that financial institutions offer functionalities that allow users to pre-register accounts that will be able to receive transfers via Pix above the established limits, allowing them to keep their limits low for other transactions. Banks may also retain a transaction on Pix for 30 minutes during the day or for 60 minutes at night for the risk analysis of the transaction, informing the user how much retention.
According to the BC, the marking in the Transactional Account Identifiers Directory (DICT) of accounts for which there are signs of use in Pix fraud will become mandatory. Before, it was optional. This database is shared between the institutions registered in the program and can be accessed during consultations to prevent fraud or theft. The BC also requires that participants share, in a timely manner, with public security authorities, information on transactions suspected of involvement in criminal activities.
Earlier, during an event for businessmen in So Paulo, the president of the Central Bank, Roberto Campos Neto, said that this package of Pix security measures “is part of the improvement of this form of payment”, as happened with ATMs, for example. According to him, Pix has been surprising expectations and currently has 283 million registered keys. “Pix is not only an instant payment system, but it has helped bring more people into the financial world,” he added.
“These measures produce some inconveniences, but the benefits will be much greater. The changes will not reduce interest in electronic payment methods.”
Joo Manoel Pinho de Mello, BC’s Financial System Organization and Resolution director
Change open banking schedule
Soon after presenting the changes on Pix, the Central Bank released a note changing the schedule for implementing open banking in the country. The start date for sharing the Pix payment service, (initial scope of Phase 3), was postponed from August 30 to October 29, 2021. The measure was due to the need for adjustments in the technical specifications, which compromised the deadline. The other dates for Phase 3 and Phase 4, scheduled for December, were maintained. The exception was the payment for Pix, which was for October.
In the assessment of specialists, the changes announced by the Central Bank to give more security to financial transactions are positive. Delegate Giancarlos Zuliani, head of the Police Office for the Repression of Cyber Crimes (DRCC), of the Federal District Civil Police, estimates that for every 10 scams committed over the internet today, seven are through Pix.
Zuliani sees the bank transfer system as one of the biggest villains today. According to the chief, it is possible to track down the criminal. However, it is almost impossible to return the values to the victims. That’s because criminals receive money and transfer it to other accounts within minutes. “When we had the DOC or TED system it was easier to try to hold the money. By Pix, no. As soon as it lands in the criminal’s account, in less than 5 minutes, the money is transferred to other locations. And by PIX too”, explains the head of the DRCC.
The forecast is that the measures will start to be implemented in a few weeks. Another problem encountered the interstate of criminals. “Account holders are usually from different states than the victims. And they transfer the money to other federative units. They spray to hamper police action. Furthermore, the same account receives Pix from several frauds at the same time”, explains delegate Giancarlos Zuliani.
The Central Bank will also order banks to share with the police information about transactions suspected of involvement in criminal activities. Public and private security expert Leonardo Sant’Anna emphasizes that the BC’s measure shows concern with the number of crimes. “Banking institutions have read this new behavior of the outlaws”, he says.
Attorney Jssica Marques, a specialist in criminal and digital law, points out that the biggest victims of these scams are currently people over 60 years old. “Pix has become a national phenomenon and, of course, it has attracted the interest of scammers, who take advantage of new market trends to injure inattentive users,” he said. “There are several scams applied, but the approach procedure is the same: passing on false information, with the appearance of regular, to attract the victim”, explains the lawyer.