Crowdfunding is an increasing established form of alternative financing for start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises. However, till 2021, the sector remained unregulated throughout the European Union (“EU”). Due to the lack of regulato Read more
Our law firm actively assists players in the Fintech sector, as well as financial institutions and any person whose regular or habitual occupation and business is the acquiring of holdings or of carrying out of any activities listed in the Schedule to the Financial Institutions Act (Chapter 376 of the Laws of Malta) (the “Act”) and also regulated by the Banking Act (Chapter 371 of the Laws of Malta). In particular, we mainly assist Payment Service Providers (PSPs), and Electronic Money Institutions (EMIs) in obtaining a Maltese licence.
We are also focusing on the two other types of payment providers which do not hold customer payment accounts, namely Payment Initiation Service Providers (PISP) and Account Information Service Providers (AISP).
As no business of the above-mentioned financial institutions can be carried out without a licence, our firm would like to draw your attention to the following services that we offer in an efficient and professional manner:
Structuring, legal and regulatory advice;
Assisting with the entire licensing process for the applicable Financial Institution Licence;
Drafting of all internal rules, internal policies, and internal procedures;
Reviewing and/or drafting of necessary documentation;
Liaising with the competent Maltese authorities on an ongoing basis;
Assisting with the company incorporation; and
Advising to ensure compliance with all the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) requirements and establishing effective KYC procedures.
We can also help you passport your licence to other European Union member states, thereby using Malta as a hub for providing services throughout the EU.
Payment Services Providers
A Payment Service Provider (“PSP”) may engage in various activities including the execution of payment transactions, issuing and/or acquiring of payment instruments, as well as money remittance. A PSP is a platform that offers the ability to process payments through the internet and a single payment gateway system and it manages the technical connection as well as the relationships with the external system (the merchants) and the corresponding bank accounts. The Act regulates the licensing of payment service providers where the capital requirement depends on the services it intends to provide and can be between EUR 50,000 – EUR 125,000. The one-time official application fee is EUR 3,500.
Electronic Money Issuers
Electronic money issuance and other electronic money related services may only be provided by a financial institution which has been granted an authorization as an Electronic Money Licence by the Malta Financial Services Authority. The Electronic Money Issuer can also provide payment services in terms of the Second Schedule to the Act, but the Electronic Money Issuer is not allowed to receive deposits or other repayable funds from their customers and must use funds exclusively to provide e-wallet functionalities or payment services in exchange for the electronic money. The referred Act provides for the possibility of licensing a “small” electronic money issuer with capital requirement of EUR 50,000 – EUR 100,000 and a regular electronic money institution with a minimum capital requirement of EUR 350,000. The one-time official application fee is EUR 3,500.
Payment Initiation Service Providers
A payment initiation service enables the payment initiation service provider (“PISP”) to provide comfort to a payee that the payment has been initiated in order to provide an incentive to the payee to release the goods or to deliver the service without undue delay, because the PISP is authorised to initiate payments into or out of a user’s account. When the PISP is not exclusively providing payment initiation services and the PISP intends to provide payment services in relation to which it holds user funds, it should obtain full authorisation (not only registration) for those services and the same licensing requirements shall apply as for a PSP according to the Act.
Account Information Service Providers
According to the Article 2(1) of the Act, an Account Information Services Provider (“AISP”) may solely provide account information services, which is an online service to provide and retrieve consolidated information (account data) on one or more payment accounts held by banks and financial institutions. In order to provide these services, the AISP needs to be registered in accordance with the Act. When the AISP is not exclusively providing account information services and also provides payment services, the same licensing requirements shall apply as for a PSP