New surveillance policies added on mobile wallet transactions, users say

New surveillance policies added on mobile wallet transactions, users say

A new wave of monitoring has sparked fear in KPay and Wave Money users. Mobile wallet holders are reporting being asked to show ID cards to agents and are being recorded through secret CCTV cameras. 

A factory worker told DVB that transactions – including deposits and withdrawals – in Wave Money require ID starting from Aug. 1.

“We used to transfer or deposit money via Wave Money without ID cards previously, but it won’t work that way starting this month. What will those that do not have IDs do?” the source said. 

According to a local who runs an online shop, the agent asked for an ID card when she withdrew money from her account on Aug. 16 and the transaction was recorded on CCTVs. 

“I don’t know why the agent needed an ID card as this has not happened before. The worst part is there were three CCTVs – one at the counter where the transaction was made, one at the place to show ID, and one at the entrance door. I felt like I was in a police station,” she said.

An agent who is running mobile wallet services said they have been instructed by authorities to take detailed information such as their name, ID number, a copy of their ID, phone number, address, and the reason for the transaction when conducting transactions. 

An agent for Wave Money said installing CCTVs in stores is not a problem but asking for IDs and addresses during transactions has become an issue for agents. 

“I was yelled at by a customer who came to my shop to transfer money after I asked him for an ID, address and reason for the transaction. I am lucky that he didn’t hit me,” he said.

The junta backed Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) issued an announcement on Aug. 15 containing 10 instructions, including installing CCTVs to record people conducting transactions and asking for IDs and addresses to make transactions with KPay and Wave Money mobile wallet services. 

This is being done by the military to prevent money laundering and the NUG and PDFs from receiving financial support, a political analyst told DVB. 

“It is just like the core concept of the ‘Four Cuts strategy’ that was done back in the era of Nay Win and Than Shwe. The military does not want people to support NUG and PDFs to succeed in the revolution. They think supporters will stop or be weakened by this policy. However, this will definitely hurt ordinary people,” the source said. 

According to CBM directives, old users need to show IDs during their transactions with agents, and new users must provide detailed information such as their name, ID card number, copy of IDs, phone numbers and photos when opening up accounts. 

Previously, users only needed an ID number and phone number to open a new account and there was no need to show IDs during transactions with agents.

The restrictions come as PDFs and the NUG have been asking for donations for the revolution via mobile wallet services like KPay and Wave Pay.

Donors have been arrested and charged by the military for providing small and large donations to resistance groups.