An Electronic Money Institution is financial organization which is authorized by the competent authority of a jurisdiction to issue and manage e-money of its users, in essence fulfilling the functionality of banking institution subject to various regulative norms. E-money represents a contemporary digital alternative to cash and paper-based finances. A holder of e-money can use it in effecting cashless payments that are stored and encrypted on mobile phone or other smart devices, a prepaid card or an online account.
Legislative and Regulatory Overview
The creation, management and operation of an Electronic Money Institution (the “EMI”) is governed by the Electronic Money Law of 2012 and supporting regulations and directives (the “Law”). In addition to the aforementioned, the Law provides regulatory guidelines for the pursuit and prudential supervision of the business of an EMI. In consequence of which, the Central Bank of Cyprus is designated as the sole licensing and authorized regulatory authority. Among others, the Central Bank of Cyprus undertakes the following competencies:
Issuance of Electronic Money on the territory of the Republic;
Issuance of Electronic Money on the territory of another state within the European Union or a third country by a natural person residing on the territory of the Republic;
Grant Licenses and permits for the creation and operation of an EMI; and
Exercise disciplinary and regulatory supervision over the EMI.
Set-up and Organization
An EMI is set up as a limited liability company and registered with the governmental authorities in the Republic. The minimum investment in the Share Capital of an EMI must be at minimum EUR 350,000.00 (Three Hundred Thousand Euros) however this amount may be subject to increase in accordance with the Central Bank of Cyprus requests. The Central Bank of Cyprus may issue tailored requirements in this regard in order to satisfy itself that the proposed EMI will be capable of settling its obligations, such requirements are calculated in a predetermined and transparent manner. In addition to the statutory requirements of a company, the EMI must retain the following staff:
2 Executive Directors;
2 Non-Executive Directors;
Key Staff must retain competency;
Key Staff must be interviewed and approved by the Central Bank of Cyprus.
An EMI benefits from retaining the capability to operate accounts and financial transactions at a less regulated basis than banks whilst retaining a higher degree of supervision, nonetheless EMI’s have proven to be a successful conceptual enterprise and consequently are permitted to provide any and all of the following services, among others, namely:
Maintain a readily available electronic device for storing monetary value;
Maintain a readily available instrument for distributing monetary value;
Receipt of monetary value;
Distribution of electronic money;
Placement of electronic money in circulation;
Sell and resell electronic money products for monetary value;
Renew the value of an electronic money product already owned by a user;
Redeem the electronic money;
Operate as a payment institution; and
Provision of Payment Services.
An Electronic Money Institution is one of the more complex and intricate legal projects that can be undertaken however the financial rewards which can be potentially obtained from such a business are considerably high. In the context of the project management required to create an operational Electronic Money Institution, our firm can undertake the handling and of the entire procedure and deliver an established and duly incorporated Electronic Money Institution ready to commence its operations. In order to successfully navigate this complex and inter-connected legal and administrative labyrinth, our firm will provide full project coverage from A to Z allowing the Client to remain informed on each step and take control once the process has been completed. For a tailored proposal suitable for your individual needs do not hesitate to contact our firm.
ANTONIOU & ASSOCIATES LLC is a lawyer’s liability company founded by Stavriana Antoniou.