Apply to become an electronic money or a payment institution

Find out how to apply to be authorised or registered with us if your firm wants to provide payment services or issue electronic money (e-money).

Apply to become a payment institution

To provide payment services as a payment institution in the UK, you must be registered or authorised by us.

If you have an average turnover in payment transactions not exceeding €3m per month, you can choose to be registered as a small payment institution (SPI).

Account information services (AIS) and payment initiation services (PIS) 

On 13 January 2018, AIS and PIS became regulated payment services.

  • An account information service is an online service which provides consolidated information on one or more payment accounts held by a payment service user with payment service providers. 
  • A payment initiation service is an online service to initiate a payment order at the request of a payment service user with respect to a payment account held by them. This must only be done with the user’s consent to and authentication of the payment. Payment initiation services provide an alternative to paying online using a credit card or debit card.

If your firm doesn’t intend to provide any payment services other than AIS, you can apply to register as a registered account information service provider (RAISP).

If your firm only intends to provide PIS, or PIS as well as other payment services, you must apply to be authorised.

Firms that don’t need to register or be authorised

Some firms are exempt from registration or authorisation under the Payment Service Regulations, these include:

  • credit unions
  • the National Savings bank
  • banks (otherwise authorised by us)
  • building societies (otherwise authorised by us)
  • e-money institutions (authorised under the EMRs)
  • municipal banks

Applications under the Revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2)

The second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) was published in the European Union's Official Journal on 23 December 2015.

PSD2 was implemented in the UK by the Payment Services Regulations 2017 (PSRs) from 13 January 2018. It aimed to bring regulation up to date with developments in the payment services industry and to promote further innovation. It also aimed to improve consumer protection, make payments safer and more secure, and drive down the cost of services by encouraging competition in the marketplace. 

The PSRs were amended to reflect the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, including by the Electronic Money, Payment Services and Payment Systems (Amendment and Transitional Provisions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018.

Apply to become a small payment institution (SPI)

If your business's average monthly turnover in payment transactions was less than €3m per month in the preceding 12 months, you can apply to register as a small payment institution (SPI).

To apply, you should complete the form on our online system Connect.

Businesses that are registered as SPIs are not permitted to provide AIS or PIS under the PSRs.

Apply to become a registered account information service provider (RAISP)

If the only payment service your firm will be providing is AIS, you can apply to register as a RAISP

To apply, you should complete the form on our online system Connect.

Apply to become an authorised payment institution (API)

You can apply to become an API if you don’t qualify as a SPI, for example, if your average monthly turnover in payment transactions is over the €3m threshold

To apply, you should complete the form on our online system Connect.

More information

Find out what to read before applying.

Apply to become an electronic money institution (EMI)

If you want to issue electronic money (e-money), you must be registered or authorised by us as an EMI, in accordance with the Electronic Money Regulations 2011 (EMRs).

EMIs need to comply with the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017.

Firms that don’t need to be registered or authorised

You are exempt from registration or authorisation if your firm is a:

  • credit institution
  • bank
  • building society
  • credit union, or
  • municipal bank

Instead you need a Part 4A permission under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.

The EMRs were amended to reflect the UK’s withdrawal from the EU by the Electronic Money, Payment Services and Payment Systems (Amendment and Transitional Provisions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018.

Register to become a small EMI

If you don’t expect your business to generate more than an average €5m in outstanding e-money immediately before registration, you may apply to register as a small EMI.

You can also provide unrelated payment services if the average monthly turnover in payment transactions isn’t more than €3m. By ‘unrelated’ we mean payment services that do not arise directly as a consequence of your e-money activity.

You need to fill out the registration application for a small EMI via Connect.

Apply to become an authorised EMI

​​​​​You must apply to become an authorised EMI if your firm doesn’t qualify as a small EMI (if your business will generate more than €5m average outstanding e-money).

Your firm can also provide other payment services not related to e-money (unrelated payment services).

What to read before applying

Before starting your authorisation application with us, we recommend you review the following: 

In your application, you will need to explain how the permissions you are applying for match with your business model. Read the following modules in our Handbook to help:

  • PERG3A Guidance on the scope of the Electronic Money Regulations 2011
  • PERG15 Guidance on the scope of the Payment Services Regulations 2017 

There are several reasons that your application may get delayed in processing. To avoid some of the common reasons, make sure:

  • you answer all the questions on the application form fully (where you think something on the application form is not applicable, please explain why in your supporting documents)
  • when you provide supporting documentation, you state clearly which section of the application form the supporting documentation relates to
  • you provide a typical customer journey (usually in screen shots or a diagram) outlining how a customer would interact with your business
  • you have identified and mitigated risks to your firm's regulated business, which arise from any unregulated activity your firm carries out
  • the main contact on the application form is an individual at your firm (not a third-party adviser)
  • you include financial forecasts (including balance sheet forecasts) for the target and two stress tested scenarios
  • policies and procedures are complete at the time of application, they should not be generic templates that are not tailored to your business model
  • evidence of capital, safeguarding and PII are submitted when the application is submitted (if applicable)
  • the correct PSD/EMD individual forms and qualifying holding (controller) forms are provided at the time of submitting your application
  • PSD/EMD individuals have suitable knowledge and experience in payment services and/or electronic money 
  • your main place of business is in the UK
  • your firm’s central management and control is in the UK

Page updates

29/07/2020: Information added information on what to read before applying