Regulated United Europe Law Firm has extensive experience in establishing companies with financial licenses in European countries. Our main goal is to make the whole process as efficient and simple as possible for our customers. We value our customers’ time and have found various ready-made solutions licensed by payment institutions to save your time. Below you will find operating companies with financial licenses from various European countries with the date of foundation, authorized capital, number of employees and cost of acquisition. Contact our team to find the best solution for your financial project and get started in just 4 weeks.
Ready-made companies with EMI/PSP license for sale
A company with a payment institution license in Europe
A licensed payment institution is an ideal solution for financial service providers, fintech companies and payment and money transfer startups. The payment institution license is the most popular license providing payment solutions for online stores.
Services that can be provided to payment institutions:
- Services that allow you to place cash in a current account.
- Services that allow you to withdraw cash from a current account.
- Implementation of payment transactions, direct debiting, transactions with payment cards or similar instruments and credit transfers.
- Implementation of payment transactions when funds are covered by a credit line.
- Issuance and/or purchase of payment instruments.
- Money transfers.
- Initiation of payments (PSD2 implementation).
- Account Information (PSD2 implementation)
A company with an electronic money license in Europe
A licensed electronic money institution allows you to provide a wider range of financial services compared to a payment institution. An electronic money institution licensed in one of the members of the European Union (EU) opens opportunities for doing business and providing services in all other EU countries, taking advantage of the common market restrictions and additional requirements of national regulators.
The Single Euro Payment Area (SEPA) is 500 million consumers and more than 20 million companies that make and receive payments in euros with low fees, on general terms, rights, and obligations, regardless of their location in Europe. Licensed electronic money institutions can join SEPA directly, as well as banks, and open individual IBAN accounts for their clients. An EMI-certified company can open sub-accounts for its customers inside its bank account, which gives it the opportunity to create electronic wallets. Customers, in turn, can exchange cash for the electronic equivalent of coins and banknotes issued by the company and store them in their e-wallet.
Services that can be provided to companies with an electronic money license:
- deposit and withdrawal of customer funds
- payment transactions, except for the provision of credit
- money transfer
- payment initiation services
The difference between a payment institution (PSP) and an electronic money institution (EMI)
The main difference between the two types of payment service providers is that only EMI can issue electronic money or digital currency, for example, a cash balance recorded electronically to a stored value card (prepaid card), or to an account (electronic wallet), or to another device.
Why you should choose a ready-made solution.
Our company always strives to find the most convenient solutions for our clients, since the actual time for preparing documents and obtaining a financial license in Europe is 9-18 months. Below, you can find ready-made offers for existing payment institutions and companies with a valid EMI license. If you want to start your financial business in Europe quickly, our legal team will be happy to offer you various solutions based on your preferences and requirements. In 4 weeks, you will be able to start your activity as a payment institution or an EMI operator. Contact our team to find the most suitable option for your project.
How to obtain EMI/PSP License in Europe
In today’s financial services sector, digital payments and financial technologies, or fintech, play an increasingly central role as the need for secure, efficient, and innovative payment solutions has been steadily growing. In the digital payments market alone, the number of users is expected to amount to over 601 mill. users by 2027.
To regulate this promising sector, Electronic Money Institution (EMI) and Payment Service Provider (PSP) licenses come into focus. EMI and PSP licenses are crucial in shaping the future of electronic payments, enabling businesses to legitimately offer a wide range of digital financial services, from electronic money issuance to payment processing.
In Europe, these licenses are governed by complex regulatory frameworks and standards, which is why it’s essential for financial institutions to examine applicable regulations prior to choosing the most suitable European jurisdiction for an EMI/PSP license. Obtaining a license from a reputable jurisdiction can influence how customers and partners perceive your business and whether they trust it enough to use your offered financial services.
What Is an Electronic Money Institution (EMI) License?
An Electronic Money Institution (EMI) license is a regulatory authorization granted by a selected country’s central bank to financial institutions or companies that intend to provide electronic money services and payment services. EMIs play an important role in the financial ecosystem as they often are at the forefront of fintech innovation. They drive improvements in digital payment solutions, mobile banking apps, and online financial services, contributing to the evolution of the financial industry.
An AMI license holder can engage in the following activities:
- Issue electronic money, which is a digital representation of funds stored electronically and can be used for various financial transactions, including online purchases, money transfers, and bill payments
- Provide payment services to individuals, businesses, and organizations, including processing card payments, facilitating bank transfers, and managing online payment platforms
- Offer digital wallet services that allow users to store electronic money securely on a digital platform, this way enabling users to make payments, transfer funds, and manage their finances digitally
What Is a Payment Institution (PI), or Payment Service Provider (PSP), License?
A Payment Institution (PI), or Payment Service Provider (PSP), license is a regulatory authorization granted by a financial authority of a chosen jurisdiction with the aim of permitting a license holder to offer a wide range of payment services to consumers, businesses, and various organizations. These licenses are a fundamental part of the financial regulatory framework and are crucial for companies that facilitate electronic payments and financial transactions.
A PI/PSP license holder can engage in the following activities:
- Process debit and credit card payments on behalf of merchants and consumers
- Facilitate domestic and cross-border money transfers and remittances
- Set up and manage direct debit transactions, such as bill payments
- Initiate electronic payments on behalf of customers
- Provide customers with consolidated views of their financial accounts
Advantages of Holding an EMI or PI/PSP License in Europe
Obtaining an EMI or PI/PSP license in Europe offers the following advantages for financial institutions and businesses:
- Access to the vast EU market, which includes 27 member countries, allowing license holders to offer payment services and electronic money products to a very large customer base
- Without a doubt, obtaining a license from a reputable European regulatory authority enhances the credibility of the company which, in turn, fosters trust among customers, partners, and investors
- Within the EU, EMI and PI/PSP license holders can benefit from passporting rights which streamline expansion efforts and reduce regulatory hurdles by enabling them to operate and provide services across multiple EU countries without the need for separate licenses in each operational jurisdiction
- The EU is a global epicenter for fintech innovation and a European EMI or PI/PSP license positions licensees at the forefront of the rapidly evolving payments and fintech industry
- A European EMI or PI/PSP license facilitates cross-border transactions within the EU, making it easier for customers to send and receive funds across European countries
- Companies holding European EMI or PI/PSP licenses receive regulatory guidance and support from the authorities with years of expertise, helping them satisfy complex compliance requirements
- Holding a European EMI or PI/PSP license offers legal protection, ensuring that the company complies with applicable laws and regulations which reduces the risk of legal issues and penalties
- European EMI or PI/PSP license holders can use their regulatory experience to expand into non-EU markets, leveraging their credibility and expertise
EMI and PI/PSP Regulations in Europe
European EMIs and PIs/PSPs are subject to strict but innovation-friendly regulations that govern their operations and ensure the stability and security of the financial system. These regulations are designed to protect consumers, prevent financial crimes, and promote competition and innovative solutions in the payments industry.
EU/EEA-based EMIs are governed by the Electronic Money Directive (EMD 2009/110/EC) which includes the following provisions:
- The definition of electronic money
- Regulatory requirements for electronic money issuance
- Requirements for initial and ongoing capital
- The mandate to safeguard customer funds, and protect them against insolvency
- Operational and security standards, including anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) measures
- Rules for passporting rights for operations across the EU/EEA countries
EU/EEA-based PIs/PSPs are governed by the Payment Services Directive (PSD 2007/64/EC and PSD2 2015/2366) which includes the following provisions:
- The definition of payment services, including payment initiation, account information, and execution of payment transactions
- Regulatory requirements for PIs/PSPs, including capital adequacy, governance, and customer protection
- Under PSD2, all licensees are required to implement strong customer authentication (SCA) and secure communication to enhance security for online payments
- Access to accounts (XS2A) provisions, allowing third-party providers to access customer account information with consent
- Rules for passporting rights, allowing PIs/PSPs to operate across EU/EEA countries with a single license from an EU/EEA country
The following EU legislation applies to both EMIs and PIs/PSPs:
- EU Anti-Money Laundering Directives (AMLD) mandating the implementation of robust AML/CFT procedures to prevent money laundering and the financing of illegal activities
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) establishes principles for personal data protection, consent requirements, and data breach reporting obligations
- Regulation on Interchange Fees for Card-Based Payment Transactions (EU) 2015/751 sets interchange fee caps for card-based payment transactions
- Regulation on Cross-Border Payments (EC) 924/2009 enforces transparency and fairness in cross-border payment services, affecting cross-border money transfer services
- Regulation on Multilateral Interchange Fees for Card-Based Payment Transactions (EU) 2015/751 addresses interchange fees for card-based payment transactions
- Regulation on Cross-Border Payments in the EU (EC) 260/2012 aims to reduce the cost of cross-border payments and enhance transparency in currency conversion charges
- Regulation on Interchange Fees for Card-Based Payment Transactions (EU) 2018/389 amends and extends the regulation on interchange fees for card-based payment transactions
It’s also important to note that while many of the above laws are transposed into national legislation of every EU country, each national regulatory framework should be examined separately as they differ regardless of the consolidated laws. To fully determine licensing procedures and ongoing compliance requirements in a specific European jurisdiction, please contact our team of experienced lawyers here at Regulated United Europe and we’ll schedule a personalized consultation for you.
Top European Jurisdictions for an EMI or PI/PSP License
When considering the formation of an EMI or PI/PSP in Europe, the choice of jurisdiction is crucial as different European countries offer various advantages, regulatory environments, and market opportunities. You may want to choose a jurisdiction on the basis of your business model, resources, target market, and timeline.
In recent years, Lithuania, an EU member country, has emerged as a popular jurisdiction for obtaining an EMI or PI/PSP license. It’s known for its efficient and streamlined licensing process for EMIs and PIs/PSPs as the regulatory authority, the Bank of Lithuania, usually grants one of these licenses within 3 months. The country has been proactive in embracing innovation in the financial sector which makes it an ideal location for businesses seeking to develop groundbreaking financial service solutions. Importantly, Lithuania is a member of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA), which facilitates euro-denominated transactions across participating European countries and provides licensees with access to a broad European market for payment services.
Estonia, another EU country and a member of SEPA, is also considered one of the most favorable jurisdictions for obtaining an EMI or PI/PSP license. The application process can last for up to 6 months which is quite efficient compared to other European jurisdictions. The Financial Supervision Authority oversees the licensees and provides clear guidelines to ensure applicants submit quality applications that will deliver positive outcomes. Estonia is known for its advanced digital infrastructure and e-governance initiatives, creating an environment favorable to fintech businesses. Moreover, it offers a competitive Corporate Tax rate (20%), providing cost-efficient operations for licensed companies.
Malta is one of the most recognized and respected jurisdictions for obtaining an EMI or PI/PSP license within the EU. The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA), which is responsible for overseeing Maltese financial services, is known for its strict adherence to EU regulations and its commitment to maintaining a stable financial environment that enables licensees to build trust among clients, partners, and investors. In spite of stringent regulations, the MFSA usually manages to grant one of these licenses within 3-6 months. Moreover, Malta offers certain tax benefits (e.g., low effective Corporate Tax rate and no Withholding Tax on dividends paid to non-resident shareholders) for companies engaged in financial services, making it financially attractive for businesses.
The UK is also considered a favorable jurisdiction for obtaining both EMI and PI/PSP licenses due to its well-developed and dynamic financial ecosystem. It has a thriving fintech sector and provides a supportive environment for companies looking to develop innovative payment solutions. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is the regulatory authority responsible for overseeing financial services in the UK. It’s widely recognized for its robust regulatory framework and commitment to consumer protection which makes licensees trusted and reliable businesses in the eyes of clients, partners, and investors. One of these licenses can be granted within 3-12 months, depending on the completeness of the submitted application.
Requirements for EMI and PI/PSP License Applicants in Europe
Since each European country has its own regulatory framework, specific legal prerequisites for EMI or PI/PSP license applicants vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, regardless of the overarching EU regulations. Nevertheless, you can still explore the most common eligibility criteria and requirements which can provide you with a general regulatory picture in Europe.
To apply either for an EMI or PI/PSP license, you must first establish a company in the country where you intend to apply for a license. You can choose from such widely used legal business structures as Private Limited Company or Public Limited Company. The incorporation process can take anywhere from several business days to several weeks depending on the processes in your chosen jurisdiction, the complexity of the business, and the quality of your application.
Once you’ve established a company, it will have to meet the following requirements:
- Have a minimum amount of initial capital which varies significantly among countries but can roughly range from 125,000 EUR to 350,000 EUR for EMIs and from 20,000 EUR to 125,000 EUR for PIs/PSPs
- Company directors and shareholders must meet fit and proper criteria specified by the regulator in the chosen jurisdiction to demonstrate financial and professional integrity
- Have appropriate AML/CFT procedures and policies in place
- Comply with the EU’s PSD2 regulation, including establishing secure and standardized interfaces and ensuring secure communication with customers
- Have the necessary technical infrastructure to provide secure financial services, including safeguarding customer funds
- A well-defined risk management framework that identifies and mitigates potential risks, including operational, financial, and compliance risks
- Pay application fees which vary from country to country and range from a few thousand euros to several tens of thousands of euros
An applicant for a European EMI or PI/PSP license usually has to prepare the following documents:
- A thorough business plan detailing the proposed EMI or PI/PSP operations, including details on the intended services, target markets, risk assessment, and financial projections
- Articles of Association
- A Memorandum of Association
- Information on all shareholders, including personal details, financial backgrounds, and ownership percentages
- An overview of the company’s organizational structure
- Financial statements, including balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow projections, for the next few years
- Proof of the possession of the required initial capital
- A detailed description of AML/CFT procedures
- Details on the applicant’s cybersecurity measures (e.g., encryption, data protection, and fraud prevention measures)
- Technical specifications, including descriptions of the company’s IT infrastructure and systems
- A detailed description of the company’s risk management framework
- Proof of insurance coverage
- Business continuity and disaster recovery plan
- Procedures for generating and submitting regulatory reports to the regulator of the chosen jurisdiction
- Customer agreements and terms of service
How to Apply for an EMI or PI/PSP License in a European Country?
Although the specific application process differs depending on the chosen jurisdiction, there still are essential and common steps that you’ll have to take when applying for an EMI or PI/PSP license in Europe. Above all, remember to complete your application package thoroughly to avoid any delays or rejection. Our team can guide you through the process by ensuring that all the necessary steps are completed in accordance with the precise requirements of the authority from your chosen jurisdiction.
Applying for a European EMI or PI/PSP license involves the following key steps:
- Gathering all the necessary documents and information required for the license application
- Paying the required application fees to the regulatory authority of the chosen jurisdiction
- Completing the official application form provided by the regulatory authority and submitting it along with the required documents to the respective authority
- Attending interviews or meetings with representatives from the regulatory authority
During the application review process, European regulatory authorities look for the assurance that the applicant will be capable of building a sustainable financial business that promotes the reputation of the chosen jurisdiction, safeguards public interest, and protects the clients. Every successful applicant is often granted a license for a specific period of time, and then it can be renewed provided that the business consistently and continuously complies with relevant regulations.
Ongoing Requirements for EMI and PI/PSP Licensees in Europe
When your company obtains an EMI or PI/PSP license in Europe, it must adhere to ongoing requirements and responsibilities to maintain compliance with regulatory standards in the jurisdictions where it operates. These ongoing requirements are essential to ensure the safety of customer funds, protect the company against financial crimes, and maintain the integrity of the national and European financial system.
To assess compliance with regulatory requirements, it’s crucial to maintain internal controls, conduct regular audits, and implement procedures for both internal and external audits. To demonstrate continuous compliance, licensees are required to submit regular reports to the regulatory authority, including financial statements, transaction reports, and other relevant data.
It’s of particular importance to adhere to the AMLD regulations which obligate European licensees to do the following:
- Continuously monitor customer transactions to detect and report any suspicious activities to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of the relevant jurisdiction
- Conduct thorough customer due diligence on all customers before establishing a business relationship or conducting occasional transactions, including verifying the identity of customers and the beneficial owners of businesses
- In situations that pose a higher risk of money laundering or terrorist financing, apply enhanced due diligence measures
- Maintain records of customer transactions, identity verification, and due diligence checks for at least 5 years after the end of the business relationship
- Identify and conduct enhanced due diligence on politically exposed persons (PEPs) and their family members and close associates
- Ensure that AML/CFT measures are extended to third-party relationships, including agents or business partners involved in providing services on behalf of the EMI or PI/PSP
- Provide ongoing training and awareness programs for employees to ensure they understand their roles in AML/CFT compliance and can identify suspicious activities
If you wish to obtain an EMI or PI/PSP license in Europe, our team here at Regulated United Europe will be delighted to support you in incorporating a company and applying for a license in a European jurisdiction that suits your business goals. With dedicated legal advisors, tax experts, and financial accountants at your side, you will find the processes of obtaining an EMI or PI/PSP license and registering a company in Europe easy, frictionless, and transparent. Contact us now to schedule a personalized consultation and set the stage for long-lasting success.
At the moment, the main services of our company are legal and compliance solutions for FinTech projects. Our offices are located in Tallinn, Vilnius, Prague, and Warsaw. The legal team can assist with legal analysis, project structuring, and legal regulation.