Small Payment Institution

In the UK, where your business turnover in payment transactions (the amount being transacted) is under EUR 3m, you can choose to register with the regulator as a Small Payment Institution (SPI). If you are considering offering payment services in the United Kingdom, you will require small payment institution registration in order to do so. The requirements for small payment institution registration are relaxed in comparison to the authorised payment institution. For example, you will not be subjected to any initial capital requirement, safeguarding (separating) client funds is optional and generally a smaller setup is sufficient, in comparison.

Payment services

Activities which fall under and require a payment institution licence include:

  • Offering payment accounts to customers

  • Enabling money remittance, or more commonly known as money transfer

  • Acquire merchants and processing payments


If you wish to provide payment services in other European countries (EEA member states), you will require an Authorised Payment Institution (API) authorisation (licence). 


In order to obtain registration as a Small Payment Institution, you will be require to meet certain regulatory conditions. 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 e.g. 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 functionality 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. 

Time frame & next steps

The FCA usually make a decision on an application in 3 months. ​We also offer customers a faster service if required, where we can prepare and submit your application in  a shorter period of time.


Regulatory Counsel will manage your application from start to finish. We will also manage all correspondence and enquiries with the regulator and work closely with you in doing so. 

We have a 100% success rate for our small payment Institution (SPI) licence applications. 

To discuss your requirements, please contact us on or call us on 0207 164 6876.