Apply to become a payment institution

Find out how to apply to be authorised or registered with us if your firm wants to provide payment services.

To provide payment services in the UK, you must register with or become authorised by us.

If a business has an average turnover in payment transactions not exceeding €3 million per month, it can choose to be  registered as a small payment institution (SPI). Registration is cheaper and simpler than authorisation, but SPIs are unable to provide payment services into other European Economic Area (EEA) member states.

From 13 January 2018 Account Information Services (AIS) and Payment Initiation Services (PIS) will be payment services. An ‘account information service’ is an online service which provides consolidated information on payment accounts held by a payment service user with payment service providers. A ‘payment initiation service’ is an online service which accesses a user’s payment account to initiate the transfer of funds on their behalf with the user’s consent and authentication. Payment initiation services provide an alternative to paying online using a credit card or debit card.

Businesses that do not intend to provide any payment services other than AIS may apply to be registered as registered account information service providers (RAISPs). RAISPs are able to provide Account Information Services in other EEA member states. Businesses that intend to provide PIS only or PIS as well as other payment services may 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, including a:

  • credit union
  • bank
  • building society
  • e-money institution
  • municipal bank

Applications under the Revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) can now be submitted

PSD2 was published in the European Union's Official Journal on 23 December 2015. PSD2 will be implemented in the UK by the Payment Services Regulations 2017 (PSRs 2017) from 13 January 2018. It aims to bring regulation up to date with developments in the payment services industry and to promote further innovation. It also aims to improve consumer protection, make payments safer and more secure, and drive down the cost of services by encouraging competition in the marketplace. Read more about PSD2 and the PSRs 2017.

Firms that are authorised or registered under the Payment Services Regulations 2009 (PSRs 2009) will need to apply to be re-authorised or re-registered under the PSRs 2017 in order to continue providing payment services.

PSD2 is also relevant for new businesses seeking authorisation or registration as payment institutions. It will introduce a number of significant changes, including new conditions of authorisation and registration. Until PSD2 is implemented in the UK on 13 January 2018, the PSRs 2009 will remain in force. You are now able to submit applications under PSD2. Rather than applying under the PSRs 2009, you are therefore strongly encouraged to make your application under the PSRs 2017.

If you decide to apply under the PSRs 2009 and we have not determined your application by 13 January 2018, we will treat your application as being made under the PSRs 2017. This means you will be required to provide more information to us, as required under the new regime.

If we have determined your application under the PSRs 2009 by 13 January 2018, you will need to submit an application to re-register or become re-authorised under PSD2 and the PSRs 2017, and pay an additional application fee.

Businesses applying for re-authorisation under PSD2 will need to submit a complete application by 13 April 2018 in order to continue operating on or after 13 July 2018. Businesses applying for re-registration will need to submit a complete application by 13 October 2018 in order to continue operating on or after 13 January 2019. 

Apply to become a small payment institution (SPI)

If your firm's average monthly turnover in payment transactions will be less than €3m, 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 PSD2. 

Apply to become a registered account information service provider

If the only payment service your firm will be providing is AIS, you can apply to register as a RAISP. You will be required to be registered to provide these services from 13 January 2018 (subject to transitional arrangements for firms that were providing these services on or before 12 January 2016).

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
  • want to provide payment services in the EEA (for example, through an agent based in another member state)

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

Further information

Further information can be found in Chapter 3 of The FCA’s role under the Payment Services Regulations 2017: Our approach.

Try our e-learning package for an overview on the Payment Services Directive.

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