Electronic Money Institutions

Progress in technology has contributed to the development of a new kind of payment instrument - electronic money.

This may be in the form of value stored on a technical device such as a chip card or a computer. Electronic money (e-Money) can be best described as a digital form of cash since it has many of the characteristics of cash.

Customers buy the electronic equivalent of coins and notes. The customer, in effect, has exchanged cash for another means of payment. Instead of using a debit card (which requires a bank account) or a credit card (which requires a contract agreement) the customer has purchased a non-cash means of payment, which can be used in much the same way as cash or other forms of card payment but without the requirement of third party authorisation.

E-money can therefore be defined as monetary value as represented by a claim on the issuer, which is:

  • electronically stored
  • issued on receipt of funds for the purposes of making payment transactions
  • accepted as means of payment by a natural or legal person other than the issuer

An e-money institution is an undertaking that has been authorised to issue e-money in accordance with the European Communities (Electronic Money) Regulations 2011, as amended (EMR).

Directive 2009/110/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the taking up, pursuit and prudential supervision of the business of electronic money institutions (the Directive) was signed on 16 September 2009. The Directive was transposed into Irish law through the EMR. The EMR were further amended when the European Union (Payment Services) Regulations 2018 (PSR), which transposes Directive (EU) 2015/2366 (PSD2) into Irish law, came into effect on 13 January 2018.

Please refer to the following PSD2 - Frequently Asked Questions section for details on the PSD2 and the new PSR that may be of relevance to your firm.

Industry Communications

24 January 2018
Following the transposition of Directive (EU) 2015/2366 (PSD2) into Irish law by way of the European Union (Payment Services) Regulations 2018 (PSR), the Central Bank has updated its application documentation for applicants seeking authorisation/registration as a Payment Institution (PI) or an Electronic Money Institution (EMI) to reflect the PSR. More information can be found on the authorisation pages for PIs and EMIs.

The Central Bank accepts applications for authorisation/registration submitted on application forms it has published for each of the following:

  1. Authorisation as a Payment Institution
  2. Registration as an Account Information Service Provider
  3. Authorisation as an Electronic Money Institution
  4. Registration as a Small Electronic Money Institution

The Central Bank has also issued a Guidance Note document which aims to provide further support to applicants completing the new application forms.