Drone sightings in the skies, virtual reality journalism and tear-free onions. These are the signs of the times, markers that show us how far we’ve come as a society, through the supermassive power of technology we sometimes harness for good and that most times we don’t. Whatever the precedent, we keep attempting to reinvent the tools we use in the hope that in the process, they can make our lives a little kinder.
The good news: Argentines might be able to use their phones to make electronic bank payments. At least, this is what Central Bank (BCRA) head Federico Sturzenegger advocated yesterday while presenting the Financial Stability Report.
Sturzenegger spoke about the need for an agenda of “financial inclusion” and encouraging access to banking and other financial services, and in order to increase these two aspects, the BCRA has the responsibility to adjust. From the month of August, he said, the banks must implement new systems of payment through smartphones and a system of electronic banknotes.
Among these systems would be a mobile POS, a “payment button” (botón de pago) and a “mobile wallet” (billetera móvil) all of which would allow people to make payments through their smartphones.
Mobile POS consists of an apparatus that can connect to a smartphone and will let users make direct and instantaneous transfers with a debit card. This transaction between the owner of the debit card and the person who receives the payment will not be brokered by third party system, which means that whichever negotiation made through a smartphone will be free.
Through Payment Button, banks will offer a service that allows for electronic commerce and will enable people to pay for purchases over the Internet through a transfer, whereas before, one could only do that with a credit card.
Mobile Wallet is a cell phone app that can allow you to charge one or more bank accounts and make transfers from there. Transfers can become immediate and easy, through a virtual bank note.
According to Sturzenegger, these changes would encourage long-term savings, as well as sustaining the current financial system and encouraging credit. He also noted that it would lower the rate of inflation.
“The credit will not recuperate,” he said, “if we don’t solve the structural problems that drag the Argentine financial system.”