Press Releases

Feinstein Statement on Stored Value Money Smuggling

Cards are now subject to border check requirements

Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Chair of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, issued the following statement today on action taken by the Obama Administration to make “stored value” subject to cross-border reporting. 

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) proposed adding pre-paid gift and credit cards – and potentially cell phones – to the list of other monetary instruments that must be declared at U.S. borders.  This proposal will help law enforcement to stay ahead of drug traffickers as they find new ways to smuggle money across the U.S. – Mexico border.

“I am pleased the Obama Administration has acted to make pre-paid credit and gift cards – known as stored value – subject to cross-border reporting requirementsI strongly support this action,” said Senator Feinstein. 

“In March, I chaired a hearing where witnesses testified that drug traffickers no longer simply smuggle bulk cash across the U.S. – Mexico border in hidden compartments.  Instead, many load money onto pre-paid cards that fit easily in their wallets and simply walk across the border. 

“This proposed rule will require that individuals carrying pre-paid credit and gift cards worth over $10,000 declare these assets at the U.S. – Mexico border.”

Senator Feinstein has urged Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and OMB Director Jack Lew to propose this new rule.  The proposal will update U.S. reporting requirements (in place since the 1970s) to reflect the emergence of new payment methods and monetary instruments used to facilitate illicit financial activity.