E.U. Electronic Money Institution Licenses: Cross-Border Transactions of E-Money.
As business evolves in the fintech arena, so is the nature of transacting capital. Although traditional banks are not entirely the same as payment service providers (“PSPs”), they do function similarly. The European Union (“EU”) has issued Directives such as the EU Directive 2009/110/EC, and the Electronic Money Directive (2000/46/EC) specifically targeting "stand-alone" B2C (business to consumer) e-money institutions. This means businesses looking to transact e-money or digital currency (i.e. issue pre-paid cards or issue electronic money, etc.) within the EU can apply to obtain an Electronic Money Institution license (“EMI license”). Once you register your company in the EU and obtain an EMI license, your company can do business in any other EU Member State by simple notification.
Here are some frequently asked questions on EMI licenses to help you better understand the process of obtaining an EMI license in Cyprus.
1. Does my business need an EMI license?
Whether your business is within the EU or outside the EU, if you want to reach EU residents as customers then your business will require an EMI license if you want to:
a.) issue electronic money/ prepaid cards;
b.) make payments electronically such as through mobile wallets;
c.) issue electronic gift vouchers;
d.) execute payment transactions including transfer of funds on a payment account with payment service providers of the payment service user or with another payment service provider (“PSP”);
e.) execute direct debits (including one-off direct debits).
(This non-exhaustive list is an example of what an EMI license can be used for).
2. What are the advantages of an EMI license in Cyprus?
There are tax advantages to obtaining your EMI license in Cyprus. Cyprus has a flat corporate tax rate of 12.5% on the net income. Further, the cost of establishing a limited liability company in Cyprus is relatively low, as is the yearly maintenance fees of the company. An EMI license obtained in Cyprus allows your company to transact business in other EU Member States.
3. Is it difficult to obtain an EMI license in Cyprus?
The process of apply and receiving an EMI license is fairly simple and straight-forward. Once your application is completed with all the required documents, it is filed with the Central Bank of Cyprus for approval. The types of documents the Central Bank of Cyprus will require as part of the application include your business plan, the structural organization of your business, evidence of initial capital, applicants’ details, security policy statement, and program of operations.
Consideration and approval of the application should take a few months if the application is submitted with all the required documents and information on the person(s) seeking to obtain licensure.
4. What is the required authorized capital to obtain an EMI license in Cyprus?
As per EU and Cyprus legislation, the required initial capitalization is a minimum of EUR 350,000.
The information contained in this article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. For legal advice tailored to your circumstances please contact our law firm at Emily@eaglaw.co.