Apply to become an authorised payment institution (API) or an authorised electronic money institution (EMI)

How to become an authorised payment institution, or an an authorised electronic money institution, register business managers, people and firms with qualifying holdings, and providing services in EEA countries.

Apply to become an authorised payment institution (API) 

To apply to become an API, you should complete the application form on our online system Connect.

Before you apply

Before you apply to become an API, you must meet the following conditions:

  • you are a body corporate eg, limited company or partnership
  • you must carry on  or will carry on some of your payment services business in the UK
  • you have robust governance arrangements and internal procedures and control mechanisms
  • you have a business plan
  • you have taken adequate measures to safeguard payment service user funds
  • if you provide PIS and AIS you hold adequate indemnity cover
  • directors and managers must be of good repute with appropriate skills to provide payment services
  • managers must not have been convicted of money laundering, terrorist financing or other financial crimes
  • your head office and registered office must be in the UK
  • you must comply with the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017
  • anyone having a qualifying holding must be fit and proper, and
  • if the applicant has close links to another person, the links mustn’t be likely to prevent our effective supervision of the business (if the links are outside of the European Economic Area (EEA), foreign laws mustn’t prevent our effective supervision of the business)

Details you need to give when you apply

Together with the application form which you must submit via Connect and the relevant fee (non-refundable), you will need to give us;details of:

  • the payment services business you want to provide
  • your governance arrangements and internal procedures (for example, the structures you have in place to run a business effectively)
  • the initial capital at the level required by the regulations to start your business (see Chapter 9 of The FCA’s role under the Payments Services Regulations 2017: Our approach)
  • your plans for obtaining a ‘safeguarding’ account with a UK or EEA bank
  • the people responsible for payment services
  • any agents acting on your behalf (if relevant) - NB you won't be able to submit agent forms on Connect until we authorise your firm
  • people with qualifying holdings representing 10% or more of the capital or voting rights
  • your procedure for incident reporting, managing sensitive payment data, business continuity arrangements, principles and definitions used when collecting statistical data
  • your security policy
  • information about the control mechanisms to meet your obligations under the Money Laundering Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017

Register people who will manage your API

You must provide us with information about the individual who will manage your API via Connect.

Notify us of changes in business managers

You must notify us of any changes in the people responsible for payment services.

Register people with qualifying holdings

You must complete a form for each person or firm with a ‘qualifying holding’ in your firm (representing 10% or more of the capital or voting rights).

Which form to use

There are different forms, depending on whether the person or firm with a qualifying holding is:

You must tell us if there is a change in your qualifying holding, for example if a person or company ceases to have a qualifying holding.

There is more information on qualifying holdings in Chapter 3 of The FCA’s role under the Payments Services Regulations 2017: Our approach.

Apply to provide payment services in other EEA states (passporting)

APIs can provide payment services in other European Economic Area (EEA) states through a cross-border notification arrangement (known as 'passporting').

Once your API has been authorised, you can apply to:

  • establish a physical presence in the state (for example, if your firm wanted to open an office, or use an agent based in that state)
  • provide cross-border services (for example, if you provide payment services without a permanent physical presence)

Find more information on applying for passporting.

Register agents 

You must register any agent with us who will provide payment services on your behalf. You can only do this (on Connect) after your API has been authorised.

You are responsible for the services of your agent, and must tell us if you change agents, if their details change or if you cease dealing with an agent

How long it takes

We should acknowledge your application within 7 business days. A case officer will then be assigned to your application, to assess the information provided and make a determination.

We will make a decision on your application within:

  • 3 months of receipt (if we have all the information and evidence that we need), or
  • 12 months (if your application is incomplete)

Please note that we may not accept a submission for authorisation or registration under: 

  • the Payment Services Regulations 2017 (the PSRs) or 
  • Electronic Money Regulations 2011 (the EMRs) 

as an application where it fails to provide the minimum information set out in Schedule 2 of the PSRs or Schedule 1 of the EMRs. If we refuse to accept it, we will set out why and refund the application fee. Applicants are welcome to resubmit an application containing all the relevant information at any time.

Refusal

There may be circumstances where your application does not show that the firm can meet the conditions of authorisation, and we will need to take steps to refuse the application. We will provide you with details of this process should this situation arise.

Contacts

Once your application has been received, and a case officer assigned, you should contact your case officer with any queries. Alternatively, you can contact us.

Further information

Find more information on qualifying holdings in Chapter 3 of Our approach.

Apply to become an authorised electronic money institution (EMI)

To apply to become an authorised electronic money institution, apply online via Connect.

Other information we need

You must also give details about:

  • your e-money business in the form of a business plan
  • the payment services you may provide to be included in the business plan (if applicable)
  • your governance arrangements and internal procedures and control mechanisms, for example the structures you have in place to run a business effectively
  • the measures you have taken to safeguard e-money holders’ funds
  • the initial capital at the level required by the regulations to start your business (see Chapter 9 of 'The FCA’s role under the Electronic Money Regulations 2011: Our approach')
  • people responsible for e-money and payment services businesses (if applicable), and
  • details of anyone with qualifying holdings representing 10% or more of the capital or voting rights

Register people who manage your EMI

Provide the relevant information via Connect for the directors and persons responsible for the management of the authorised EMI and the activities of issuing e-money and payment services.

When completing the form you can refer to the notes and factsheet.

Notify us of changes to EMD individuals in business managers

You must notify us of any changes to the directors and persons responsible for the management of the authorised EMI.

Register people with qualifying holdings

You must complete a form for each person or firm with a ‘qualifying holding’ or a control in your firm representing 10% or more of the capital or voting rights.

A person or firm with a qualifying holding is called a ‘controller’. You must tell us if there are changes to the qualifying holdings.

Find more information on qualifying holdings in Chapter 3 of Our approach.

Apply to operate as an EMI in other EEA states (passporting)

Authorised EMIs can issue and distribute e-money and provide payment services in other European Economic Area (EEA) states through a cross-border passport arrangement (known as ‘passporting’).

You can apply to:

Find more information on applying for passporting.

Register agents

You must register any agent via Connect with us who you wish to engage to distribute e-money or provide payment services on your behalf.

You are responsible for anything done or omitted by your agent and should therefore have appropriate systems and controls in place to effectively oversee them.

You must tell us if you change agents, if their details change or if you cease dealing with an agent.

The application fee

For more information about fees, please review the PSD2 fees page.

How long it takes

The FCA should acknowledge your application within five business days. A case officer will then be assigned to your application, to assess the information provided and make a determination.

We’ll make a determination within:

  • 3 months of receipt (if you send all the information and evidence we need)
  • 12 months (if your application’s incomplete)

Please note that we may not accept a submission for authorisation or registration under: 

  • the Payment Services Regulations 2017 (the PSRs) or 
  • Electronic Money Regulations 2011 (the EMRs) 

as an application where it fails to provide the minimum information set out in Schedule 2 of the PSRs or Schedule 1 of the EMRs. If we refuse to accept it, we will set out why and refund the application fee. Applicants are welcome to resubmit an application containing all the relevant information at any time.

Refusal

There may be circumstances where your application does not show evidence that the firm can meet the conditions of authorisation, and we will need to take steps to refuse the application. We will provide you with details of this process should this situation arise.

Contacts

Once your application has been received, and a case officer assigned, you should contact your case officer with any queries. Alternatively, you can contact us.

Further information

Chapter 3 of Our approach contains more information on the authorisation process.