Apply to become a small payment institution (SPI) or a small EMI

How to become a small payment institution or a small EMI, including information we need from you and how to register business managers and agents.

Apply to become a small payment institution (SPI)

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

Conditions

To become a SPI, you must meet the following conditions:

  • directors and managers must be of good repute with appropriate skills to provide payment services
  • average monthly payment transactions in the preceding 12 months must not exceed €3 m
  • if you have not been providing payment services, or have been providing payment services for less than 12 months, projected average monthly payment transactions must not exceed €3m
  • managers must not have been convicted of money laundering, terrorist financing or other financial crimes
  • your head office and registered office (or place of residence for natural persons) must be in the UK
  • you must comply with the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations (2017)
  • if the applicant is a partnership, an unincorporated association or a corporation, anyone having a qualifying holding must be fit and proper for the sound and prudent conduct of a small PI, and
  • if the applicant is a corporation with close links to another person, the links mustn’t be likely to prevent our effective supervision of the business (if the link’s outside of the European Economic Area (EEA), foreign laws mustn’t prevent our effective supervision of the business)
  • You must not provide AIS or PIS

Information you must send

In addition to the 'core details' and declaration forms on Connect, the application to become a small PI comprises:

  • the application form
  • PSD individual forms to register each person who will manage your PI
  • qualifying holdings forms, if applicable
  • agent forms for anyone who will act on your behalf, if applicable, and
  • the £500 application fee (non-refundable)

Register each person who will manage your SPI 

Provide information for each person responsible for your payment services via Connect.

When completing the form, refer to the notes.

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), you must submit this information via Connect.

Register agents 

You must register an agent with us who’ll provide payment services on your behalf. However, you will not be able to notify us of any agents (using Connect) until after the SPI has been registered.

You are responsible for the services of your agent.

You 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 seven 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 (if we have all the information and evidence that we need)
  • 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 registration, and we will need to take steps to refuse the application. We will provide you with details of this process.

Further information

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

Contacts

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

Apply to become a small electronic money institution (EMI)

To apply to become a small EMI, please apply via Connect.

Other information we need

You must also include details of:

  • your electronic money (e-money) business in the form of a business plan
  • payment services business you may provide to be included in the business plan (if applicable)
  • your governance arrangements and internal procedures, for example the structures you have in place to run a business effectively people responsible for e-money and payment services businesses (if applicable)
  • evidence that when you start trading, your e-money business will generate a monthly average outstanding electronic money of less than €5m
  • evidence that, in the 12 months preceding the application, the monthly average of payment services transactions did not exceed €3m (this assessment can be based on projections if a firm have never traded before), and
  • a description of how you will safeguard the funds of e-money holders
  • evidence that you meet your initial capital requirements

Register people who manage your EMI

You must provide information via Connect for any directors and persons responsible for the management of the small EMI and the activities of issuing e-money and payment services.

When completing the form refer to the:

Notify us of changes in business managers

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

Register agents

You must register any agent with us via Connect who’ll provide EMI services on your behalf.

You’re 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.

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 usually make a determination on your application within:

  • three months of receipt (if we have all the information and evidence we need), or
  • 12 months of receipt (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

If your application does not appear to satisfy the conditions of registration, we will take steps to refuse the application. If so, we will give you details of the refusal process should the situation arise.

Further information

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

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.