After intensive consultation, CBCS and Banks Agree on Access to Payment Accounts for Natural Persons

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Willemstad/Philipsburg – As the supervisory authority for the financial sector in the Countries of Curaçao and Sint Maarten, the Centrale Bank van Curaçao en Sint Maarten (CBCS) has as one of its objectives the promotion of a safe and efficient payment system that is at the same time affordable, reliable, and accessible.

During the past year, the CBCS and the Curaçao Bankers Association (CBA) have been in discussions to make it possible for everyone to have, as a minimum, a payment account. In close consultation, the CBCS and the CBA have made further agreements on the promotion of financial inclusion.

As a result of the rapid digitalization of society, having a bank account is becoming essential for social inclusion. The use of cash for purchasing products, paying taxes and settling energy bills is becoming less and less convenient. Bank checks, which in some instances were still being used for paying salaries and bills, have been largely abandoned by the banks.

In the discussions, the banking sector consistently expressed being fully aware of its corporate social responsibility. The banks stress that their commitment to offering payment accounts to natural persons goes years back. Nevertheless, the CBCS and the banks have observed that questions still persist about turnaround times, documentation requirements and access to payment products.

In principle, the banks will offer a package of primary payment services to any adult legal resident with a fixed place of residence in Curaçao or Sint Maarten, whose identity can be determined and verified in accordance with the National Ordinance on Identification when Rendering Services (Landsverordening Identificatie bij Dienstverlening) and/or the National Ordinance on Combating Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing (Landsverordening bestrijding witwassen en terrorismefinanciering).

The package of primary payment services will include, as a minimum, access to internet banking, a mobile banking application and a debit card to access the payment account.

The primary payment services package is subject to a simple application and client-screening process, requiring the following information to be provided on the application form:
1. Name and surname
2. Gender
3. Phone numbers
4. Birth date
5. Nationality
6. Valid identification (passport, ID card/sedula, driver’s license, residence permit)
7. Address and house number
8. E-mail address
9. Transaction profile, including source of income
10. Any involvement in fraud or crime

The applicant must also provide the commercial bank with the following two documents:
1. Valid identification document
2. Proof of address

If the above information and documents are received in good order, the commercial bank will open the payment account within 10 working days. The banks will not condition the provision of the payment account on the acceptance of any other bank services.

A commercial bank may reject an application based on the applicant’s negative records, for
instance, if it knows that the applicant is or has been involved in swindles, abuse of trust, crime, forgery, money laundering and/or fraud. The commercial bank must inform the applicant within 10 working days of its decision to reject the application.

In the event of compelling circumstances, such as misuse by the account holder of the payment account, the payment card and/or the access to internet banking, or the mobile banking application granted, the commercial bank may block all use of these products with immediate effect.

If the account holder breaches any of the obligations in connection with the payment account, the commercial bank will have the right to terminate the account subject to the notice period provided in that bank’s General Terms and Conditions unless, due to facts or circumstances, the commercial bank cannot reasonably be expected to observe the notice period.

In case of intent or gross negligence by the account holder, no notice period will apply. In either case, the commercial bank shall inform the account holder of its decision in good time.