The US Treasury Department is planning a crackdown on pre-paid and stored value cards because they are increasingly being used for money laundering purposes, according to a report by Reuters.
William Langford, an associate director for regulatory policy at the Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, told reporters that new regulations covering the use of the prepaid gift cards could be introduced within the next six months.
Jeffrey Ross, a senior adviser to the Treasury's terrorist financing and financial crimes division, also warned that prepaid cards - which can be loaded with money and used to make purchases as well as to withdraw cash at ATMs, are vulnerable to money laundering abuse.
Ross says unlike normal payment cards, stored value cards can be used to transport large sums of money quickly without being detected and without leaving any kind of 'footprint' or paper trail.
It's a way of moving funds without a bank account relationship and with anonymity, he told reporters.
No specific details were given by Langford or Ross on the new regulation for pre-paid cards, but they said it was a "top issue" for the US Treasury Department.
Both Langford and Ross were attending the International Money Laundering Conference and Exhibition in Florida.