Satna and Check Replace POS in Large Transactions

(Wednesday, February 6, 2019) 10:21

Large transactions are channeled through checks and Real-Time Gross Settlement System locally known by its Persian acronym Satna, director of the Payment Systems Department of the Central Bank of Iran said.

Davoud Mohammad Beigi said after enforcing CBI restrictions on transactions of over 500 million rials ($4,000), people turned to Satna and checks for conducting large transactions. 


The measure came as part of the CBI’s measure to monitor large and suspicious transactions. “The periodic reports shows that after implementing the new restrictions, large transactions are processed smoothly via checks and Satna”, Mohammad Beigi was quoted as saying by IBENA. 


The move was part of broader measures undertaken by CBI boss Abdolnaser Hemmati to stabilize the volatile foreign exchange market, curb capital flight and eliminate money laundering.  


 Beigi said the main reason behind CBI interference was to keep track of transactions to avert suspicious activities and abuse in the payment network. 


Recalling that debit cards are retail payment instruments that shouldn’t be used for transferring large amounts, he said in many countries there are limits on debit card payment. “There was no limitation on debit card payment in Iran in the past, which caused disruption in the payment system.”  


This is while a portion of the transactions were processed via POS devices beyond Iranian borders. “The CBI was long trying to design measures to control overseas operations of Iranian POS devices. An end has been put to those devices,” he said. 


Hemmati earlier had lamented that his predecessor in the CBI had been negligent toward the POS devices operating beyond borders. “One could easily use Iranian POS in Turkey or Canada to transfer money without any limit. In one case, some 100 billion rials ($862,000) was transferred via these devices” he told state TV. 


Akbar Komijani, the CBI deputy, said last week CBI restrictions on banking transactions were successful in curbing speculative activities in the forex market. 


CBI issued a directive in December telling banks and credit institutions to abide by the restrictions the regulator set on the ceiling of transactions. 


The bylaw allowed a maximum 500 million rials transaction for any debit card and up to 1 billion rials for any national ID number daily.  In other words, each card holder is allowed to purchase maximum 1 billion rials via POS devices with their debt cards.   


Making a Difference  


The effect of the CBI measure is also evident in monthly reports of Shaparak, the domestic electronic payment network, released regularly on the performance of the network. 


According to Shaparak, the value of transactions in the Iranian month Azar (Nov. 22-Dec.21) declined 9.63% in value compared to a month earlier. The report ws released a month after the implementation of the CBI measure. 


The decrease in transactions’ value was for the second time in a row, when the total amount of liquidity transferred via electronic payment systems fell 213 trillion rials ($1.8 billion) in Azar and 403 trillion rials ($3.4 billion) a month earlier in Aban. 


This was yet another indication that the CBI policy on permissible value of daily purchases via point-of-sale devices had delivered.