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Cyprus Guidelines on Completing and Submitting Applications for Authorisation as an Electronic Money Institution (‘EMI’)  and Payment Institution under Directive 2012 [“the EMD”]; the Appointment of Agents & the Establishment of Branches 

Introduction

The new e-money regulatory law affects not only e-money issuers but also, for the first time, intermediaries of e-money issuers involved in the distribution or redemption of e-money. A kiosk or supermarket operator which sells or charges pre-paid cards for an e-money issuer will be classified as an ‘e-money agent’. Under the new law, these intermediaries are subject to a regulatory regime of their own.

Licensing and supervision of Electronic Money Institutions in Cyprus

In accordance with the provisions of  the Electronic Money Law, 2012 (hereinafter to be referred to as the «Law») which was enacted for the purposes of harmonization with the act of the European Community entitled “Directive 2009/110/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 September 2009 amending Directives 2005/60/EC and 2006/48/EC and repealing Directive 2000/46/EC, electronic money services in the Republic of Cyprus may only be provided by an electronic money institution which has been granted an authorization by the Central Bank of Cyprus («CBC»).

Notwithstanding the provisions of the Law concerning authorizations, the following persons may provide electronic money services in the Republic of Cyprus without obtaining the prior approval of the CBC:

  • Banks licensed by the CBC or by a competent supervisory authority of another EU member state.
  • Cooperative credit institutions which have been licensed by the Authority for the Supervision and Development of Cooperative Societies of Cyprus.
  • Institutions which provide 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 that have been granted and maintain a valid authorization to operate by the competent supervisory authorities of other EU member states. These institutions may either exercise the right of establishment or the right to provide services on a cross – border basis, provided that the competent authorities of the home member state submit to the CBC a notification in the manner prescribed by the Electronic Money Institutions Directive (241/2012) issued by the CBC.

An authorization for the operation of an electronic money institution is only granted to a legal person who has been incorporated and has its head office in the Republic of Cyprus. For the purpose of obtaining an authorization as an electronic money institution, interested persons must submit an application to the CBC accompanied by the information and documents prescribed in paragraph 3 of the  Electronic Money Institutions Directive (241/2012) issued by the CBC by virtue of the powers vested in it under the Law.

In the aforementioned Directive the following are also, inter alia, defined:

  • The amount of the initial capital as well as the amount of own funds that electronic money institutions are required to maintain;
  • The methods for safeguarding the funds received by electronic money institutions;
  • The delegation of operational functions to third parties;
  • The right to   exercise the freedom of establishment and the freedom to provide services in another EU member state without establishment;
  • The criteria which an agent of an electronic money institution must fulfill in order to be listed in the public register maintained by the Central Bank of Cyprus.
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