E-Money license Malta

EMI license Malta

The Republic of Malta is one of the top three countries by the number of issued EMI licenses. Increased interest in this jurisdiction and the status of e money license Malta is caused by certain factors, among which are the single European passport, tax preferences, loyal attitude to foreign investors, and all-round active government support to suppliers and users of financial services.

Information about EMI licenses. For any legal activity associated with the provision of any payment services in the EU, the organization must obtain the relevant permission — the payment license of the Financial Institution level. EMI license is required when operations involve electronic payments.

  • Electronic Money Institution or EMI is a license allowing one to manage/operate such an asset as electronic money. In particular, permission is required to operate payment systems and arrange payments via electronic wallets. An EMI license also gives the right to issue e-money.
  • E-money, or electronic money, is an alternative to cash. It is assets stored electronically and on an electronic medium. Like physical money, it can be used for trade, exchange, and various payment transactions (transfers).

EMI licensing implies the submission of a corresponding application in the official form to the designated regulatory authority. In Malta, the Malta Financial Services Authority is responsible for licensing (authorization) and supervision of financial institutions.

Rules on the operation of companies-holders of e money license Malta shall be governed by the EU directives and regulations of MFSA. The regulations provide conditions for the active promotion of the FinTech sphere and increase the security of payments.

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Opportunities and benefits of obtaining an EMI license in Malta

The company-holder of the EMI license becomes an electronic money institution and receives virtually the same rights as a classic payment institution. It can:

  • Issue (emit) electronic money.
  • Allocate and hold funds in accounts and service them (operational service).
  • Carry out exchange transactions.
  • Carry out payment transactions, including those with payment cards.
  • Make transfers.
  • Lend money as part of payment transactions, as well as carry out other financial activities not prohibited by law.

The Republic of Malta is one of the first jurisdictions in the EU to allow the creation and registration of independent e-money institutions. At the moment, Malta boasts a developed technological infrastructure, flexible regulation, and a loyal tax policy. It is a politically stable country with a developed economy.

Since 2004, the Republic is a member of the European Union, so by obtaining an e money license Malta, a legal entity automatically receives the right to provide payment services across the EU.

Other advantages include:

  • Availability of some international double taxation agreements.
  • Availability of highly qualified English-speaking staff (English is one of the official languages in Malta).
  • Developed FinTech industry.
  • Lower operating costs compared to other EU countries.
  • The possibility to obtain a license quickly.

It is worth noting that companies that have obtained the status of an e-money institution can delegate services to outsourcing firms.

Requirements for licensees to obtain an e money license Malta

Obtaining an EMI license in all EU countries implies the company's compliance with certain requirements concerning the amount of registered capital, personnel issues (company structure, top managers' reputation), and asset safeguarding policy.

Of course, the licensing process also requires certain monetary expenses. It is the cost of setting up a company, payment of government fees and services for the consideration of the application in Malta (one-time non-refundable fee for consideration of the application is 3.5 thousand euros). The monetary investment will be required for the purchase of hardware and software to run and support the business. There is an annual mandatory payment to the regulator equivalent to a share of 0.0002 of total assets.

  1. A prerequisite for obtaining an e money license Malta is the availability of a real physical head office in the territory of the Republic.
  2. The licensee must have the start-up capital to contribute the minimum authorized capital of 350 thousand euros (before 2011, the amount was much higher — 1 million euros). The money is transferred to the client's account.
  • In addition to the "classic" full EMI license, there is a "small," limited license, which gives no authority to issue electronic money. The amount of initial capital for a "small" EMI is 50 thousand euros.
  1. The management structure of the payment company must have at least two directors residing in Malta, an auditor, and a secretary. Top managers must have the necessary training and practical experience in finance, as well as an impeccable reputation. Due diligence of key persons and major shareholders is carried out to confirm this.
  2. The licensee must organize a system of control within the company (AML policy, customer identification procedures, regulation of operational risks).

The responsibilities of public companies with e money license Malta include the annual submission of reports.

The licensing procedure

To apply to the MFSA, the licensee must prepare an application, a package of legal and IT documents in English, including:

  • Copies of articles of incorporation;
  • A detailed business plan describing the company's structure, management system, and internal controls;
  • A business model of technical processes with forecasts of financial indicators;
  • ID data of managers and shareholders;
  • Safety policy regulations, description of measures for protecting user money (AML and KYC safety protocols), etc.

The procedure for obtaining an e money license Malta includes:

  1. A preliminary meeting (discussion) with representatives of the Maltese regulator.
  2. Preparation and submission of a completed application form and documentation.
  3. MFSA must acknowledge receipt of the documents and the validity of the application within 3 days of receipt of the request.
  4. Review by the regulator of the package of documents for all mandatory information. The MFSA has 10 days from receipt of the application to do this.
  5. MFSA staff evaluates the licensee. Three months are given for review and decision. If the applicant does not receive a response after that time, it should be considered a denial.

On average, the entire licensing process, including preparation time, can take 4-6 months.

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