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Becoming FCA authorised or registered as an E-Money Issuer or a Payment Services Provider

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United Kingdom

This note looks at how a firm can go about becoming appropriately authorised or registered and what Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP can do to assist in that process.

The requirement to be appropriately authorised or registered

Issuing e-money and performing a payment service in the UK are both regulated activites which can only be undertaken by firms which are appropriately authorised, registered (as a small provider) or are exempt. This note looks at how a firm can go about becoming appropriately authorised or registered and what Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP can do to assist in that process.

Applying to the FCA to become UK authorised or registered

Since 1 April 2013, the UK has had two financial regulators, but the Financial Conduct Authority ("FCA") will be the competent authority for most E-Money Issuers and Payment Services Providers.

Authorised or registered?

The FCA operates two different tiers of regulation of E-Money Issuers and Payment Services Providers:

  • authorisation, which is available for any size firm, involves a full application and then enables firms to offer a full range of e-money or payment services (as applicable), subject to any limitations imposed on the firm by the FCA; and
  • registration, which is suitable for smaller firms, involves a simpler and cheaper application process but firms are slightly restricted in the services they can provide.

We can advise on the differences between full authorisation by, and registration with, the FCA and help decide which is most appropriate in the circumstances. The information required by the FCA during the application process will differ in each case, so this is something to resolve at the outset.

The application process

Whether applying for authorisation as an E-Money Issuer or a Payment Services Provider, the central feature is the completion of an application pack. The FCA favours adopting a flexible and interactive approach with applicants and seeks to foster a dialogue between applicants, their advisers and the FCA. The steps involved in an application are listed in the briefing paper which can be downloaded below.

Click here to download the full briefing paper.

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