New York’s OCC Fintech Charter Lawsuit is Dismissed

As previously reported, last December saw the first public announcement from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) regarding the intent to begin accepting special purpose bank charter applications from fintech organizations. And since then, the response has been a mixed one. Most recently, a New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) lawsuit has been dismissed based largely on a “perceived lack of threat to the DFS’ own regulatory powers.”

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Opinion: States Have Potential to Transform the Regulatory Landscape for Payments

Policymakers in D.C. and across the country are looking at the modern payments industry with an eye towards regulating it, taxing it, or increasing their cost of doing business. Now is the time for industry officials to work with policymakers to shape good public policy.

One area state policymakers are examining is money transmitter laws. Regulations on money transmitters are changing rapidly and are changing how the payments industry operates.

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Visa’s Quick Chip EMV Move, Banking On Perception To Trump Reality

Using the Electronic Transaction Association’s TRANSACT 16 event as a backdrop, Visa on Tuesday (April 19) rolled out Quick Chip for EMV, which the leading card brand described in a news release as being “a technology enhancement that optimizes EMC chip processing and speeds up checkout times.” Unfortunately, Quick Chip isn’t a technology enhancement nor does it optimize chip processing and it certainly doesn’t speed up checkout times. Other than that, the lead of Visa’s news release got it right.

What Quick Chip, however, does do is potentially just as powerful an aid to EMV—or quite destructive to EMV adoption, depending on who is talking—as what Visa claims. All that it does is allow the shopper to remove the card from the card reader much more quickly than current deployments permit. Given that the reader’s retention of the card until the full transaction is complete is behind a very high percentage of both merchant and consumer EMV complaints, this could be seen as a very good thing. Let’s break this down. For almost all transactions, the Quick Chip change won’t accelerate the total transaction time at all. The customer still needs to stand there until all products have scanned and the cashier has been given the final transaction approval. Therefore, from the merchant perspective of “how many shoppers can I push through the line in an hour?” this change is unlikely to help at all. But like so much of what happens in retail, reality never stands a chance against perception.

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Washington State’s Disappearing New Money Transmitter Rules

On Monday (Dec. 14), the Washington state Department of Financial Institutions said that it was about to change the ways payment processors can get waivers from money transmission licensing requirements. The changes were to kick in Jan. 1. But by Wednesday (Dec. 16), the page with the announcement had vanished, instead displaying a “page not found” error. A search on the state DFI site still returns the page during a search. (Guys, if you’re going to hide a page, don’t forget to clear cache and remove it from site search results. Geez, do we have to tell you everything about hiding stuff from the public?) Fortunately, we copied the text of the page before it disappeared.

Giving processors a mechanism to not being considered a money transmitter is ostensibly a good thing. But like everything else that touches state and federal regulatory efforts, few good things ship without booby-traps. Deana Rich, president of Rich Consulting and also Partner/Director of Strategy for, said the risk is not mostly with the state issuing the rules—Washington state in this case—but with other states and how they may choose to interpret that waiver request. “If you say to one state ‘I want to be exempt from your rules,’ other states might say, ‘Hmmmm. Why did you say this to Washington? I’m going to look at you much more carefully now,'” Rich said.

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