WebMoney has been waiting for four years for the National Bank of Ukraine to resume the procedure of electronic payments endorsement, said Marharyta Ormotsadze, chief of the company’s PR department, in a commentary to The Day. “We have been waiting for four years now for the NBU to resume the procedure of harmonization of rules. According to the transitional provisions of the document, state agencies are supposed to unfreeze the endorsement procedure in three months. Our rules have to be harmonized,” said Ormotsadze as she commented on the situation around the alleged illegitimacy of WebMoney payments, voiced by the media at the end of last week with references to Ukraine’s State Administration of Railroad Transportation.
“Newsmakers refer to their [Railroad Transportation State Administration’s. – Ed.] Facebook page, but we cannot see that statement there. Besides, I have to say that our rules for electronic money systems were submitted for endorsement by the NBU as far back as in 2009. Our request has not been turned down, while the endorsement procedure itself was totally frozen by the National Bank itself, as Ukraine had no legislation whatsoever, which would deal with the concept of e-money. Such legislation was finally enacted on October 18, 2012,” relates Ormotsadze.
As a reminder: at the end of last week the Ukrainian State Administration of Railroad Transportation said that from that moment on, customers could not pay for booking tickets at booking.uz.gov.ua using the popular payment and transfer system WebMoney, since it had not been endorsed by the National Bank of Ukraine. The news was spread by all major mass media with references to a corresponding notification on the Administration’s Facebook page, which allegedly said that in Ukraine payment systems operated under the Law of Ukraine “On Payment Systems and Money Transfers in Ukraine.” Moreover, “under Article 9 of this Law, the rules for national and international payment systems… shall be endorsed for the payment organization of the payment system by the National Bank [of Ukraine. – Ed.]. Providing payment systems or electronic money system services without endorsement by the NBU is not allowed,” read the message on the Railroad Transport Administration’s page. And since the Administration emphasized on WebMoney rules being not endorsed by the NBU, it follows that the work of this payment system is illegitimate.
Interestingly, the blocking of electronic payment systems by the railroad officials was announced less than a month after it had been introduced. Our readers may remember that “Ukrzaliznytsia [Ukrainian Railroads. – Ed.] announced introducing WebMoney payments (just for reference, at the beginning of 2012 the system served 16 million accounts) only in late September – early October 2012. Ukrainian Railroads praised this step as an innovative and aimed at upgrading their services. WebMoney even issued a detailed video manual on how to purchase train tickets. Such measures turned to be very effective. In the first week, Ukrainian Railroads sold 200 tickets using the WebMoney system. Overall, Ukrainian Railroads’ statistics show that last year 693,868 tickets were purchased online, whereas 1,471,270 were purchased over nine months of 2012. Thus, Ukrainian Railroads say that in 2012 online sales grew 2.5 times compared to the same period of 2011, which shows that Ukrainians are enthusiastic about the new form of payment.
But why did Ukrainian Railroads back so suddenly? It is obvious that, by freezing electronic payments through booking.uz.gov.ua, the agency voluntarily reduces its customer base.
The reason is the enactment of the abovementioned legislation, enacted on October 18, which allows the National Bank of Ukraine to regulate the issuance and use of e-money (the text of Law No.5284-VI was published by Holos Ukrainy). Until then, despite the fact that e-payments had virtually existed in the country, government ignored it on the legislative level. Its operations were not regulated by any kind of legislative document. Meanwhile, the NBU froze the procedure of endorsement of non-banking payment systems and e-money systems, which indeed created a number of problems. That is why the players in the electronic payments system were so enthusiastic about Law No.5284-VI. Experts say that about a dozen players, who had submitted their rules for endorsement, had been waiting for the process to resume.