The Money Transmitter Alliance (MTA), which is comprised of six Money Service Business (MSB) members, including Western Union, Viamericas, Barri, and Sigue, today announced a new collaborative tool, an Industry Agent Database, that will strengthen compliance at an industry level.
As players in the payments space, all of us maintain a critical role in upholding the highest standards of integrity and protecting our customers and systems from abuse. We believe adopting a multi-agency collaborative approach is the most effective path toward addressing these shared challenges, and this is the foundation from which the MTA was formed. As money service businesses have continued to make significant strides over the past few years, combating money laundering, terror financing and other illicit activity has remained a serious challenge requiring significant investment and effort to counteract.
The Industry Agent Database is a first-of-its-kind resource for the MSB industry and has been developed for the purpose of voluntarily sharing information on potential “bad actors” looking to offer MSB services and ultimately to help combat agent hopping. The tool can be leveraged during the onboarding process or as an additional due diligence check when evaluating entities looking to act as an agent to offer payment services. Using the database, a member entity can easily see if new agent applicants have been previously terminated by another participating member for reasons ranging from payment misappropriation to criminal law enforcement exposure, to agent complicity.
While leveraging information held by an array of member entities, including industry leaders, the database will bolster compliance efforts for its members. The database also includes strong privacy safeguards, such as access restricted by encrypted certificate and username/password and a user-friendly interface featuring record-matching via 21 unique identifier fields. The database falls within the voluntary sharing scope of Section 314(b) of the USA PATRIOT Act and is subject to 314(b) safe harbor protection.
The database is exclusively available to members of the MTA, which was established in 2018 as an association for U.S. money service businesses registered with FinCEN to share information.