How to Obtain a Small Payments Institution License in the UK

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.

To obtain a Small Payments Institution (SPI) license in the UK, you will need to follow the steps outlined below:

  • Determine if you are eligible to apply for an SPI license. To be eligible, your business must meet the following criteria:
    • You must be a legal entity, such as a company or a partnership.
    • You must have a permanent address in the UK.
    • You must have at least one director or partner who is a fit and proper person.
  • Submit an application to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). To apply for an SPI license, you will need to complete an application form and submit it to the FCA, along with the following supporting documents:
    • A detailed business plan outlining your proposed business activities and how you plan to comply with the relevant regulations.
    • A description of your internal control systems and risk management policies.
    • Details of your directors, partners, and any other key individuals involved in the business.
    • Financial projections for the next three years.
    • Information on any previous financial crime convictions or regulatory action taken against you or your business.
  • Pay the application fee. The application fee for an SPI license is £1,000.
  • Wait for a decision from the FCA. The FCA will review your application and supporting documents to determine whether to grant you an SPI license. This process can take several months. If your application is successful, you will receive a license certificate and will be able to start operating as a Small Payments Institution.

Please note that the above is a general overview of the process for obtaining a Small Payments Institution license in the UK. There may be additional requirements or steps that you need to follow, depending on your specific business and the nature of your proposed activities. It is recommended that you seek legal advice and guidance to ensure that you comply with all relevant regulations and requirements.

This page was last updated on May 30, 2023.

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