The low-value payment system in Colombia is regulated by Decree 1692 of 2020, which modifies Decree 2555 of 2010. This Decree aims to increase financial inclusion and facilitate access to the low-value payment system and its financial services.
This system processes payment orders and funds transactions through many participants like: i) acquirers, ii) payment aggregators, iii) the entities that administrate the low-value payment system, iv) issuing entities, v) receiving entities, payers, or vi) the consumer who authorizes payment orders and access technology providers. But, in this case, we will only talk about three facilitating access the most to the low-value payment system: the payment system administrator, acquirers, and payments aggregators.
One of the essential participants is the low-value payment system administrator. Despite the Decree 1692 of 2020 reduces its activities, this kind of administrator has in charge: I) deciding who will be admitted in the low-value payment system, ii) allowing the system operation through its functions such as netting and settlement, and, addition, iii) processing and supplying the technology for access and act as payment service providers for acquirers and issuers.
These entities are under the surveillance and control of the Colombian Finance Superintendence and require authorization and license to operate in Colombia.
The Decree established that can develop the activity of acquiring by credit institutions, companies specialized in electronic deposits and payments - SEDPES and some companies not supervised by the Colombian Finance Superintendence. On the other hand, acquirers can be entities under the Colombian Finance Superintendence or not. But in any case, these companies, supervised or not, must fulfill specific requirements and be registered before the Superintendence.
The acquiring is delimitated to the following activities: (i) engage merchants in the low-value payment system; (ii) provide access technologies to merchants that enable the use of payment instruments; (iii) process payment orders and funds transfers, and (iv) to pay the merchant or the aggregator the resources of the sales made through the access technologies.
And the last one of the participants who facilitates access to this system is the payment aggregator. Decree 1962 defines the aggregator as an acquirer's payment service provider that connects merchants to the low-value payment system, provides them with access technologies that enable the use of payment instruments, and collects on their behalf the funds resulting from payment orders or transfer of funds.
Even if the payment aggregators have to fulfill specific requirements to be admitted in the low-value payment system, there is no license due by de Colombian Finance Superintendence for these entities.
By closing this note, we believe that the low-value payment system in Colombia has the potential to be a crucial economic tool for a vast sector of the Colombian population. Knowing its legal structure and regulatory developments is undoubtedly essential for institutional or corporate actors in this system or who are interested in belonging to it, who must have, among others, appropriate legal advice.
Especialista en Derecho Financiero y Mercado de Valores