Small Payment Institution  - UK 

Provide payment services such as money remittance,  debit cards and payment processing in the UK


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. In the UK, you also have the option of applying for a small or 'local' level licence, known as the small payment institution or 'SPI' for short. The licence does have some restrictions but also has some flexibility. For example, no initial capital is applicable to a small payment institution licence. The time-frame to obtain the licence is also smaller, usually around 3 months. However, with the small payment institution you cannot passport or provide your services at a European level. The amount of payment you are able to process is also restricted to EUR 3m per month. 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.

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 

Types of payment services under a Small Payment Institution

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.

How to prepare a strong Small Payment Institution or SPI licence application

You will be required to establish local presence in the UK. 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 business. 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.

Time frame​ to obtain the Small Payment Institution licence

Following the submission of an application, it takes 3-4 months on average to obtain the small payment institution licence.

How We Can obtain the Small 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.

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

Address: 45 Fitzroy Street, Fitzrovia, London, W1T 6EB

Telephone: 0207 164 6876  |  Email:  |  International telephone: 442071646876

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