How to Register Emoney Licence in Cyprus

Electronic Money Institutions:

According to the EU Directive and the Cyprus Electronic Money Law ‘’Electronic Money’’ is defined as ‘’electronically including magnetically, stored monetary value as represented by a claim on the issuer which is issued on receipt of funds for the purpose of making payment transactions, and which is accepted by a natural or legal person other than the electronic money issuer’’.

Regulator:

Central Bank of Cyprus (CBC)

Law Regarding EMIs:

EMIs are governed by the Electronic Money Law

The provision of electronic money services in the Republic of Cyprus (the “Republic”) is regulated by the provisions of The Electronic Money Laws of 2012 and 2018 (‘‘the Law’’) which transposed into national law the following directives of the European Parliament and of the Council:

  1. 2009/110/EC of 16 September 2009 on the taking up, pursuit and prudential supervision of the business of electronic money institutions; and
  2. (EU) 2015/2366 of 25 November 2015 on payment services in the internal market.

The European Banking Authority has issued guidelines (EBA/GL/2017/09) which are fully adopted by the CBC, regarding the content of the information which must be disclosed to the competent authorities when submitting an application to obtain authorisation as an electronic money institution.

Services allowed by EMIs:

  • Maintain a readily available electronic device, in which monetary value may be stored, for the purpose of placing electronic money in circulation·
  • Maintain a readily available instrument for the distribution of electronic money for the purpose of placing electronic money in circulation·
  • Receive monetary value in exchange for the distribution of electronic money·
  • Distribute electronic money·
  • Place electronic money in circulation·
  • Sell or resell electronic money products·
  • Renew the value of an electronic money product already in the hands of an electronic money holder·
  • When not acting in their capacity as payers, to distribute electronic money to a person holding or purporting to hold electronic money·
  • Redeem electronic money held by a holder of electronic money·
  • Acting in the capacity of an employee or other capacity on behalf of a third party, approach persons who are holders or potential holders of electronic money.
  • In addition, EMIs can operate as a payment institutions and provide payment services.

Who can issue electronic money in Cyprus:

  • Banks licenced by CBC.
  • Banks licenced by a competent authority of another EU member state.
  • Cooperative credit institutions.
  • Institutions providing postal payment services and which issue electronic money by virtue of relevant legislation.
  • The European Central Bank and national central banks when not acting in their capacity as monetary or other public authorities.
  • Member states or their regional or local authorities when not acting in their capacity as public authorities.
  • Electronic Money Institutions.

Documents regarding the application to the Central Bank of Cyprus:

The application contains three questionnaires which are completed by the directors and managers, the applicant and the applicant’s controllers. (EMD/Q1, EMD/Q2, EMD/Q3) Also, the application must contain inter alia the following:

  • Business Plan
  • Program of Operations
  • Description regarding the compliance with the fund safeguarding requirements
  • Evidence of capital as per the prescribed minimum initial capital requirement
  • Governance and internal control mechanisms manual
  • AML, risk management and compliance manual
  • Clear criminal record for each shareholder and officer
  • Head office address

Capital Requirements:

The minimum amount for initial/share capital requirement of electronic money institutions should be at least €350,000, but it is advisable that any applicant provides €500,000 in cash as share capital.

Timeframe:

Within three months of the receipt of an application, the CBC will inform the applicant whether the authorization has been granted or refused.

Employees:

Minimum personnel is One (1) but depends on the Company’s day to day operations. Minimum functions to be established:

  • Executive Directors * 2
  • Non-Executive Director * 2
  • Chief Executive Officer (can be one of the Directors)
  • Compliance Oversight
  • Client Assets Oversight
  • Money Laundering Reporting
  • Customer Function                  
  • Risk Management
  • IT Person
  • Financial Reporting / Financial Controller

Are there any restrictions?

Restrictions exist on:

  • The amount of the initial capital that electronic money institutions are required to maintain.
    • A legal person applying for authorisation shall maintain, at the time of authorisation, an initial capital of at least EUR 350.000
  • The amount of own funds that electronic money institutions are required to maintain.
    • Capital requirements for the issue of electronic money shall be equal to 2% of the average value of electronic money in circulation.
    • Capital requirements for the provision of payment services not connected with the issue of electronic money are defined by the Central Bank in one of the following three methods:

Method Α

  • The electronic money institutions own funds shall amount to at least 10 % of its fixed overheads of the preceding year.
  • This amount may be adjusted in the event of a material change in an electronic money institution's business since the preceding year.
  • Where an electronic money institution has not completed a full year's business by the date of the calculation, the requirement shall be that its own funds amount to at least 10 % of the corresponding fixed overheads as projected in its business plan, subject to any adjustments at the request of the Central Bank.

Method Β

  • Where payment volume (PV) represents one twelfth of the total amount of payment transactions executed by the electronic money institution in the preceding year:
    • 4,0 % of the slice of PV up to EUR 5 million, plus
    • 2,5 % of the slice of PV above EUR 5 million up to EUR 10 million, plus
    • 1 % of the slice of PV above EUR 10 million up to EUR 100 million, plus
    • 0,5 % of the slice of PV above EUR 100 million up to EUR 250 million, plus
    • 0,25 % of the slice of PV above EUR 250 million
    • The electronic money institution's own funds shall amount to at least the sum of the above elements multiplied by the scaling factor k which is defined as 0,5 , 0,8 or 1 according to the payment services provided.

Method C

The electronic money institution's own funds shall amount to at least the relevant indicator (refer to point a below), multiplied by the multiplication factor (refer to point b below) and by the scaling factor k which is defined as 0,5 , 0,8 or 1 according to the payment services provided.

    • The relevant indicator is the sum of the following:
      • interest income less interest expenses,
      • commissions and fees received, and
      • other operating income.

    • The multiplication factor shall be:
      • 10 % of the slice of the relevant indicator up to EUR 2,5 million;
      • 8 % of the slice of the relevant indicator from EUR 2,5 million up to EUR 5 million;
      • 6 % of the slice of the relevant indicator from EUR 5 million up to EUR 25 million;
      • 3 % of the slice of the relevant indicator from EUR 25 million up to 50 million;
      • 1,5 % above EUR 50 million.

Tornaritis Experience in financial Institution Licensing During the period of last months, Tornaritis Law licensed more than 2 Payment and Electronic Money institutions including big names furthermore advise the biggest Emoney companies in Cyprus.

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