House bill seeks to regulate bank accounts, e-wallets

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 17 2023 03:16 PM | Updated as of Mar 21 2023 12:46 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) -- The House of Representatives Committee on Banks and Financial Intermediaries has submitted House Bill 7393 or the proposed Financial Account Regulations Act for plenary deliberation.

According to its committee fact sheet, the bill seeks to protect people from various cybercrime schemes by regulating the use of bank accounts and e-wallets.

The bill would prohibit and punish financial crimes such as acting as a money mule, performing social engineering schemes, and committing economic sabotage.

It defines a money mule as a person who obtains, receives, acquires, transfers or withdraws money, funds or proceeds derived from crimes, offenses or social engineering schemes, and related prohibited acts.

It defines social engineering scheme as the use of deception or fraudulent means by a person to obtain confidential or personal information, including sensitive identifying information of another person.

It defines economic sabotage as a prohibited act committed by a syndicate, or committed in large scale or using a mass mailer. 

Under the bill, banks and other financial institutions are mandated to ensure that access to their clients' accounts are protected by the highest level of security, including multi-factor authentication (MFA), security redundancies, and other account-holder authentication and verification processes. 

Those security levels must be proportionate and commensurate to the nature, size and complexity of their operations. 

The failure of these institutions to exercise proper diligence shall result to immediate restitution of amounts lost to the rightful owners.

The bill currently awaits plenary action.