Public Advisory for Money Transfer Licensing in the UK

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK has implemented a stringent and restrictive approach to licensing, resulting in significant delays and a sharp decrease in approval rates. Entrepreneurs seeking licenses must carefully consider the challenges and requirements before proceeding. Read more here.

Any business in the UK wanting to issue e-money has to apply for an EMI license. Electronic money (e-money) is electronically (including magnetically) stored monetary value, represented by a claim on the issuer, which is issued on receipt of funds for the purpose of making payment transactions.

It must be accepted as a means of payment by a person other than the electronic money issuer.

Types of E-Money:

Following are the two types of e-money business offerings that cannot be offered without an EMI license:

  • Prepaid cards
  • Electronic prepaid accounts for online use

Changes in EMRs

The EMRs were amended in 2018 to reflect the UK’s withdrawal from the EU under The Electronic Money, Payment Services and Payment Systems (Amendment and Transitional Provisions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018. These regulations have impacted: 

  • Electronic money issuer
  • And electronic money users (electronic money users)

E-money issuers must comply with certain conduct rules about issuing and redeeming e-money set out in the EMRs. They must also comply with relevant provisions of the FCA Handbook.

Who Regulates the EMI License in the UK?

In the UK, firms planning to obtain an EMI license need to be authorised or registered by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), as per the Electronic Money Regulations 2011 (EMRs). Each firm applying for an EMI license needs to comply with The Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds Regulations 2017.

This page was last updated on May 30, 2023.

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