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Licensing and supervision of payment institutions

1. In the Republic of Cyprus the provision of payment services is regulated by The Payment Services and Access to Payment Systems Laws of 2018 to 2022 (the "Law"), which transposed into national law the provisions of Directive (EU) 2015/2366 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2015 on payment services in the internal market (also known as PSD2).

The Law has provisions regulating:

a) the transparency of conditions and requirements for payment services;

b) the respective rights and obligations of payment service users and payment service providers in relation to the provision of payment services as a regular occupation or  business activity; and

c) the granting of authorisation, operation and supervision of payment institutions.

 

2. Where any person intends to provide from or from within the Republic of  Cyprus (the “Republic”) any of  the payment services listed in points 1-7 of Annex I of the Law, an authorisation is required by the Central Bank of Cyprus (the “CBC”) for the operation of a payment institution providing the intended services.

In order to obtain the authorisation, an application should be submitted to the CBC together with all the information referred to in subsection (3) of section 5 of the Law. It is noted that the application must include a receipt of the payment of the relevant application fee which should be deposited in the account - "APPLICATION FEES" with IBAN CY65 0010 0001 0000 0000 0772 3042.

The CBC shall grant authorisation only if it is a legal person incorporated in the Republic where it is required to have its registered and head office and must carry out at least part of its payment service business.

 

3. For the operation of a payment institution providing account information services as referred to in point 8 of Annex I of the Law, the provisions of section 34 of the Law are applied. In such cases, an application should be submitted to the CBC for registration as an account information service provider. 

Application for registration as an account information service provider - (AISP)

 

4. Regarding the content of the information which is required to be submitted to the CBC  in order to obtain authorisation for the provision of the payment services listed in points 1-7 of Annex I of the Law or the registration as an account information service provider, applicants should refer to the guidelines EBA/GL/2017/09 issued by the European Banking Authority for that purpose, which the CBC has fully adopted.

The relevant application forms are shown hereinbelow.  The updated application form for authorisation as a payment institution, as per the link below, should be used for applications submitted from 7 December 2021 onwards.

Application for authorisation as a payment institution - (PI)

Application by a legal person wishing to hold a qualifying holding - (QHL)

Application by a natural person wishing to hold a qualifying holding - (QHN)

Application by a natural person wishing to be appointed as a member of the management body or key function holder - (MMB/KFH)

Time Commitment Table

Applications and all correspondence should be submitted to the following email address as well:

licensingsection@centralbank.cy

In advance of submitting an application, prospective applicants are advised to refer to the below list of common errors observed in applications in order for these to be avoided:

Applications for the authorisation of Payment Institutions - common errors observed

 

5. Payment services may also be offered from or from within the Republic by authorised EU payment institutions pursuant to the right of establishment and freedom to provide services, in accordance with the provisions set out in the Law.

For more information please refer to the below Commission Regulation which is binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all member states.

- Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/2055 of 23 June 2017 supplementing Directive (EU) 2015/2366 of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to regulatory technical standards for the cooperation and exchange of information between competent authorities relating to the exercise of the right of establishment and the freedom to provide services of payment institutions (Text with EEA relevance.)

 

6. Limited network exclusion

For the provision of services based on payment instruments that can be used only in a limited way, under the scope of Article 3(k) of Directive (EU) 2015/2366 (PSD2), which was transposed as Section 3(3)(ια) of the Law, the CBC has adopted the Guidelines EBA/GL/2022/2 on the limited network exclusion under the Directive (EU) 2015/2366, that were issued by the European Banking Authority (EBA) for that purpose, effective 1 June 2022.

Any entity that provides services falling under the scope of Section 3(3)(ια) of the Law should refer to these Guidelines and is expected to notify the CBC if the volume of transactions exceeds the limits as per Section 37(2) of the Law. Notifications should be sent by email to LicensingSection@centralbank.cy

All entities that submitted a notification to the CBC under Section 37(2) of the Law prior to 1 June 2022, should resubmit the notification, in conformity with the said EBA Guidelines, by 1 September 2022.

 

7. Payment institutions' register

The CBC maintains public register which provides the following:

a) the payment institutions to which authorisation was granted, the agents and branches acting on their behalf; as well as the EU member states in which they have passported their activities; and

b) the payment institutions that have been authorised by an EU competent authority and which have exercised their right of establishment or freedom to provide payment services from within the Republic.

 

Payment institutions's register