House OKs bill regulating e-wallets, bank accounts to strengthen finance security

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The House approves regulating the use of e-wallets and bank accounts to strengthen the financial system’s defense against cybercriminals.

The proposed substitute bill prohibits financial services, banks, or online financial platforms, for unusual and suspicious financial activity.

The House panel substituted the bills filed separately by Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte Jr. and Magdalo Partylist Rep. Manuel Cabochan III.

In his House Bill 10141, Villafuerte underscores the need for a law that would govern bank accounts and e-wallets amid the rise of cybercrimes last year. Meanwhile, Cabochan’s proposal in his House Bill 10412 punishes money mules, social engineering schemes, and phishing that would lead to illegal online financial activities.

The substitute bill defines bank accounts as an interest or non-interest bearing deposit, trust, investment, and other transaction account maintained with a bank or a financial institution.

On the other hand, an e-wallet is defined as a digital value stored in either a software or application, which users use for financial transactions ranging from payments to fund transfers.

The House said it would make the bill clearer and consistent with other supported regulations and laws with the following changes.

Under the substitute bill, money mule activities and social engineering schemes, electronic or not, are illegal. In addition, it mentions economic sabotage if a syndicate committed the offense either on a large scale or by using a Mass Mailer. Furthermore, it will punish individuals who assist or aid in any illegal schemes or willfully abet to commit any said unlawful act.