Electronic Communications Exclusion (ECE)

Find out more about the ECE, including what the exclusion applies to, when and how to make a notification and the information we need from you. 

When you might be offering a regulated payment service

In general, the Payment Services Regulations 2017 (PSRs) require that anyone who provides payment services as a regular occupation or business activity needs to be authorised or registered by us. 

However, certain activities are excluded and certain bodies are exempt or otherwise entitled to provide payment services:

  • exclusions are listed in schedule 1, part 2 of the PSRs – we explain one of these below (the electronic communications exclusion)
  • exempt bodies are listed in regulation 3
  • regulation 138 lists all bodies that are entitled to provide payment services, some of which do not need our authorisation or registration (eg credit institutions, the Bank of England and the Post Office Ltd)

A list of 'payment services' can be found in schedule 1, part 1 of the PSRs. Examples of regulated payment services include:

  • the transfer of money between two parties (money remittance)
  • services enabling cash to be placed on, or withdrawn from, a payment account
  • operating a payment account for customers

Chapter 15 of our perimeter guidance manual (PERG 15) gives details on when you might need our authorisation or registration (see question 9, the heading 'Exemptions and exclusions', and PERG 15.5). 

You can also find more information on our web pages and in our Approach Document.

When you are offering a regulated payment service

You should apply to us for authorisation or registration, as required.

If you are in doubt, you should seek independent legal or compliance advice on whether your services are likely to constitute regulated payment services under the PSRs. 

Electronic Communications Exclusion (ECE)

Under the PSRs and Electronic Money Regulations 2011 (EMRs), if you're a provider of electronic communications networks or services ('a service provider'), you must notify us if you currently provide or intends to provide a service falling within the ECE.

Find out more about how this notification should be submitted.

The exclusion applies to all payment transactions resulting from services provided by providers of electronic communication networks or services for digital content and voice-based services, tickets or donations to charity which are charged to a subscriber’s bill, subject to transaction limits.

The notification requirement applies only to the provider of the electronic communications network or service.

For more information on what constitutes an excluded activity, please see PERG 3A.5 and PERG 15.5.

Information required in the notification

If you are operating, or intend to provide services falling under the ECE, you must provide:

  • an initial notification including a description of that service
  • an annual audit opinion, testifying that the transactions for which the service is provided comply with the limits in the exclusion

Information provided in the notification will be displayed on the Financial Services Register.

When and how to notify

If you’re operating under the ECE, you must notify us as directed. You should read the direction to understand your obligations.

If you intend to operate under the ECE, you must submit the notification before the start of the service.

If you intend to stop providing excluded services, you must notify us no later than 10 business days after the services end.

Please note that fees are payable for notifications. More information can be found on Connect and in the Fees Handbook (FEES 3 Annex 8R).

The ECE notification form should be submitted through Connect. You will need to register to access Connect