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Payment Licence - Europe

Authorised Payment Institution

Issue e-wallets and prepaid cards, as well as payment services such as cards and payment processing across Europe.

Introduction

In order to provide payment service in Europe, such as, payment processing, providing cards such as debit cards and offering a money transfer service, you must first obtain a payment licence. This is formally known as the Authorised Payment Institution licence. The licence is obtained from the financial regulator or the central bank, depending on the European country. In the UK for instance, the financial services regulator is the Financial Conduct Authority.

 

Preparing a strong licence application requires careful planning, adequate resources such as people and systems and strong internal governance and controls, including risk and compliance. We specialise in payment services along with electronic money. We are able to advise firms on how best to structure and plan their application. We also help clients prepare strong policies and procedures based around the firm's business model and processes.

 

An authorised payment institution licence enables a business to provide payment services across the European Economic Area. Some countries, including the UK, provide the optional of an additional licence with less stringent conditions and requirements. In the UK this licence is known as a small payment institution.

Contact Us

Contact us to discuss about the payment and e-money services your business wishes to provide. Please complete and submit the form below or alternatively call us on 0207 164  6876 or email us at info@regulatorycounsel.co.uk 

Authorised Payment Institution: types of payment services

Under a payment licence you are able to offer the following payment services:

1. Payment accounts

Examples of a payment account include debit cards and payment cards. The payment service user is able to place and withdraw cash on such accounts as well as use the card to make payment transaction, using the card to buy goods and services. Users are also able to setup direct debits standing orders as well as transferring funds.

2. Merchant services

Holders of the payment institution licence are able to provide merchant services. This can include acting as a master merchant and offering merchants the ability to accept card payments.

3. Money remittance

Money remittance or transfer is another service payment institutions are able to offer. This service enables the payment service provider to enable users to make cross border payments, internationally.

​4. Payment initiation services 

Under this model, an initiator I.e. as a payment service provider under the payment institution licence, subject to the user's consent, is able to initiate a payment directly from the user's bank account and transfer the amount directly to the merchant retailer’s bank account, removing the Visa and Mastercard networks from  the payment process.

​5. Account information services

Under this permission, subject to the user's consent, a payment service provider is able to provide access to a user’s accounts and enable them to view consolidated account information in one place.

How to prepare a strong Authorised Payment Institution licence application

You will be required to establish local presence in the European country in which you wish to obtain your payment licence. This means, your team and office.

Furthermore, you must show that you have adequate resources in place. This includes financial resources, i.e. possessing sufficient funds to manage and operate the businesses. You must also demonstrate that you have suitable and experienced management and employees to manage the business. You must also demonstrate that you have adequate IT systems and internal controls to ensure the safety of payments and manage fraud adequately and effectively.

Firms must ensure that their business plan describes their payment activities and their market plan and execution. Their financial statements must adequately address their lines of income, calculations of initial and on-going capital requirements and provide financial forecasts for three years. 

Firms must provide policies and procedural documents that clearly demonstrate that they understand their risks. Firms should prepare a risk framework and address how they will mitigate their risks, including operational, security and money laundering risks. 

Our Authorised Payment Institution licencing service coverage

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Our payment licencing service covers Europe. Accordingly, we can help you obtain a payment licence in countries including, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus (Republic of), Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. As part of our service, we can advise you on the best jurisdiction in which to establish and obtain your payment licence.

Passporting under the Authorised Payment Institution

Obtaining a payment licence in one European country, for example, Lithuania, enables you to provide the regulated services across Europe with the same licence rather than having to apply for multiple country-specific licences. This is achieved through something known as 'passporting'. Passporting is the exercise of the right for a firm registered in the European Economic Area (EEA) to conduct its business in any other EEA (European Economic Area) state without requiring further licences in each country.

Countries forming part of the EEA

The following countries form part of the EEA:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.​

Time frame​ to obtain the Authorised Payment Institution

Following the submission of an application, it takes 3-5 months on average to obtain the payment licence.

How we can help you obtain the Authorised Payment Institution licence

We specialise and focus in payments and e-money. We can help you to obtain your payment or e-money licence, be compliant by helping you with your compliance obligations, and provide support and advice where required. As part of our licencing (authorisation) service, we spend time understanding your plans and ambitions and advise you on the best possible route and strategy.  

In additional to the licence authorisation service, we can assist you with additional services, such as, company formation, ongoing advisory and consulting, accounting, legal, Visa/Mastercard principal membership and operational setup. We offer an end-to-end service, taking responsibility for the entire project, including project planning and preparing all the required documents, such as your regulatory business plan, AML policy and financial statements.

 

Our licencing service includes the following:

  • Guiding you throughout the application preparation stage

  • Managing the entire application from planning to obtaining the licence

  • Preparing, completing and submitting the application form

  • Submitting the individual directorship and shareholding forms

  • Preparing, completing and submitting compliance documents such as the business plan, financial statements, AML procedure, monitoring programme, compliance and risk management.

  • Submitting your application to the financial regulator

  • Assisting you with any correspondence/further questions from the financial regulator after submitting your application until your licence has been granted.

Requirements to obtain the Authorised Payment Institution licence

In order to obtain the payment licence and become an Authorised Payment Institution, you will be require to meet certain regulatory conditions. First of all, depending on which of the above payment services you wish to offer, you will be subjected to an initial capital requirement - a sum of money that you will need to show you have in place to the regulator. Additionally, you must demonstrate that your 'mind and management' is in the United Kingdom, or in the country in which you wish to obtain the licence I.e. Germany or Ireland. This means that you must invest in having in place a physical office - virtual offices are not acceptable. Furthermore, the regulator will expect you to have sufficient non-financial resources in place to operate the business. This means having a suitable number of employees in place to manage the functions within your firm, such as compliance. You are able to outsource functions of your firm I.e. technology to third parties or perhaps your parent company based in another country. We are able to advise and help you in ensuring that you meet all the conditions and requirements. 

Next Steps

The next step involves us arranging a telephone call or a meeting to discuss your business ambitions and plan. Once we understand the payment and e-money services you wish to provide we can then discuss the best country for your licence and setup. We will also discuss any business and regulatory requirements that you will be required to meet and help guide you through these. Once we have finalised the above we can then proceed with your application. Remember, our service is expert-led and so you will be working with and communicating with a director at all times. 

Contact us to discuss about the payment and e-money services your business wishes to provide. Please complete and submit the form below or alternatively call us on 0207 164  6876 or email us at info@regulatorycounsel.co.uk.