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Enabling you to gain access to the UK market and offer payment services, including, payment accounts, payment processing, merchant acquiring and money transfer services.


Payments regulation is changing in Europe. With this change, it is creating new opportunities for payment service providers. The second payment service directive (PSD2) responds to the evolving demands of customers. 

The European payments market size is substantial and growing continually. For example, the European remittance market size is over €120 billion. The total amount of non cash payments in Europe increased to over 122 billion in 2016. The total number of payment cards grew to over 1.5 billion in 2016. In relation to card transactions, in 2017, the 45 largest merchant acquirers in Europe processed 67.5 billion payments, from 10 million merchants, valued at €2.4 trillion.

What is a Small Payment Institution?

The Financial Conduct Authority, in accordance with Payment Services Regulations, defines a small payment institution as being any person, including a corporate entity, registered as a payment institution and included by the Financial Conduct Authority in the Financial Services Register as a small payment institution. 

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Small Payment Institution (SPI)
United Kingdom 


Licencing (Authorisation)
Full compliance support
End-to-end authorised payment institution (SPI) licence application preparation. Full management of communication with the regulator until your licence has been issued.
We focus on your compliance so you can focus on your business and its growth. We offer 2 levels of compliance support packages to support you in areas including risk, compliance and auditing.
Obtaining banking facilities
From helping you obtain safeguarding banking facilities to issuing cards and virtual IBANs, our service has your customer's needs in mind.
Full consulting support
Our partnership with you extends to consulting services, including legal, accounting, recruitment, business development, product development and market strategy.


Step 1

Assessment & Suitability

We listen to you to understand your business, your customers and your requirements.

Step 2

Planning & Execution

We advise you on your business requirements and agree a course of action. We advise you on the regulatory requirements, fees and timescales involved. We also offer a fast-track service.

Step 3

Application preparation

We work closely with you in understanding your organisation and its processes. We project manage your application. Finally, we help you to submit your application.

Step 4

Licence is issued

We hear back from the regulator who may have further questions. We prepare the response and manage communication on your behalf. Your SPI registration application is approved.


Payment accounts

Money remittance

Payment processing

Merchant acquiring


Our service extends beyond licencing and compliance. We spend significant time understanding our clients, their culture, ambitions and roadmap. We understand where they are and where they want to be and achieve. We help them achieve this transition. In addition to our above services, we help our clients with related and third-party services, to enable them to offer payment services smoothly.
With our authorised payment institution (API) licence authorisation service, we will discuss your requirements and the payment services you wish to offer. We will assess your business model, directors and senior management team, their experience and suitability as well as your governance (risk & compliance), operations, structure, business model and viability, to ensure that you will meet the regulator's requirements. Following our assessment, we will provide you with a realistic and honest assessment on application strength, as well as making our recommendations.
The authorised payment institution (API) requires careful planning and in-depth preparation. A large amount of documents are required to be drafted for the authorised payment institution (API) application, including a business plan, programme of operations, risk and compliance policy and framework, security procedures and policies, anti-money laundering etc. We are able to help you prepare all the required policies, procedures, and documents to ensure you achieve authorisation and avoid any delays in doing so.


1. Services enabling cash to be placed on a payment account as well as all the operations required for operating a payment account.
2. Services enabling cash withdrawals from a payment account as well as all the operations required for operating a payment account.
3. Execution of payment transactions, including transfers of funds on a payment account with the user’s payment service provider or with another payment service provider. This includes, execution of direct debits, payment transactions through a payment card and credit transfers.
4. Execution of payment transactions where the funds are covered by a credit line for a payment service user. This includes, execution of direct debits, execution of payment transactions through a payment card or a similar, and execution of credit transfers, including standing orders.
5. Issuing of payment instruments and/or acquiring of payment transactions. An example of this being merchant acquiring.
6. Money remittance. For example, cross-border money transfer.


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PSD2, or the Payment Service Directive 2, is an EU Directive (Directive 2015/2366) which sets requirements for businesses that provide payment services. It applies to banks, building societies, payment institutions, e-money institutions and their customers.

PSD aims to promote innovation within the payments sector. Furthermore, it aims to improve protection for consumers and make payments both safer and more secure.

The PSD2 directive came into force on 13 January 2018.


Its main objectives are to:


  • Contribute to a more integrated and efficient European payments market

  • Improve the level playing field for payment service providers (including new players)

  • Make payments safer and more secure

  • Protect consumers


The Financial Conduct Authority in the UK regulates firms that provide regulated services, including, consumer credit, payment services, electronic money, lending, insurance and investment services.

Animportant thing you must do before making an application is to ensure you meet the regulator's conditions. For example, you will need to ensure that your management and people such as directors, must be located in the UK. You will need to demonstrate through your application that you have appropriate resources to operate your business. This includes having sufficient financial, management, staff, and systems to manage your business.

The Financial Conduct Authority expects firms to meet a range a requirements before it allows them to provide regulated financial services. When an applicant firm submits an application seeking authorisation, the Financial Conduct Authority will review their business plans, risks, budget, resources, systems, controls and people.


To become a SPI, you must meet the following conditions:

  • directors and managers must be of good repute with appropriate skills to provide payment services

  • average monthly payment transactions in the previous 12 months must not exceed €3m

  • if you have not been providing payment services, or have been providing payment services for less than 12 months, projected average monthly payment transactions must not exceed €3m

  • managers must not have been convicted of money laundering, terrorist financing or any other financial crimes

  • your head office and registered office must be in the UK

  • you must comply with the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations (2017)

  • if your firm is a partnership, an unincorporated association or a corporation, anyone having a qualifying holding must be fit and proper for the sound and prudent conduct of an SPI, and

  • if your firm is a corporation with close links to another person, the links mustn’t be likely to prevent the FCA's effective supervision of the business 

  • You must not provide AIS or PIS


IThe Financial Conduct Authority must make a decision within three months of receiving a complete application. In reality, it takes around 4 months to obtain the licence.

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