The Small Payment Institution (SPI) license is required to offer payment services in the UK and the EU. This license is also referred to as the registered license, as opposed to the authorized license; also called the Authorized Payment Institution(API). An SPI license has lower requirements than an API license like lower application fees. However, there are limitations under this license such as the amount of money you can transact per month, and whether or not you can passport your license to other countries in the EU. Money transfer operators, money transmitters and remittance companies that are starting out are examples of institutions that should apply for this license.
In the UK, the SPI license is granted by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as governed by the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA). The FCA’s mission is to create an honest, fair and effective market. They do this by regulation and supervising the conduct of businesses and setting standards such as those required by Payment Institutions. The FCA keeps a register of all registered PIs here to offer transparency to consumers. Learn more about how to apply for the UK SPI license here.
The payment industry in the European Union and European Economic Area is regulated by each country’s central bank as governed by the Revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2). The European Banking Association(EBA) keeps a register of all licensed payment institutions in the EU here. Please note that as opposed to the API license, the SPI license is not passport-able to other EU nations. You will have to apply for a license for each country in which you intend to operate. Learn more about the European SPI license here.
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This page was last updated on June 7, 2023.