EMI license in Portugal

EMI license in Portugal

EMI stands for Electronic Money Institution; this term is used for the permits of the Financial Institution class…

EMI stands for Electronic Money Institution; this term is used for the permits of the Financial Institution class that allow providing financial services. EMI license holders can establish their electronic wallets and online banks (without the right to issue loans) and issue physical and virtual cards.   

EMI in Portugal: what it provides for

A company holding an EMI license in Portugal enjoys the same rights as other payment institutions; in some cases, their possibilities are even wider. For instance, EMI licensed legal entities can store the clients’ finds for a longer term and issue payment tools that allow depositing clients’ money. These make it easy to proceed with various transactions, such as payments for goods and services. 

E-money issuers (holders of Portuguese EMI permits) can operate using electronic currency that they have issued in exchange for the clients’ natural money. They can process payments to other clients of the issuer that are willing to accept the e-currency. The issuer, in their turn, is obliged to redeem the electronic funds from the money holder at any moment should the client wish so. The digital funds are stored on both physical (e.g., smart cards) and virtual media (payment system servers).

How to obtain an EMI license in Portugal

The issuance of Portuguese EMI licenses is regulated by the EU Directive which establishes the rules and regulations for the companies licensed with EMI certificates. The primary regulator in the country is the Bank of Portugal (Banco de Portugal, BP). Should a company decide to apply for this permit in Portugal, it has to comply with the following requirements:

  • company registration in Portugal;
  • a local office;
  • appropriate management – the members of managing and controlling bodies have to possess relevant qualifications and experience;
  • proof of spotless business reputation as well as  the confirmation of a legal source of income for the company founders;
  • internal mechanisms of control, risk management, money laundering and terrorism financing prevention, along with a number of other policies and procedures;
  • proof of authorized capital payment (not less than the established minimum).

BP also requires the candidates for EMI licenses to submit their constituent documents, business plans, financial forecasts, and the organization structure description. 

EMI licensing process in Portugal

The process of EMI license issuance in Portugal consists of several stages:

  1. Application for authorization – the clients submit the required documents including a 3-year business plan and other documents (see above).
  2. Consideration of the application – the regulator proceeds with a full check-up of the applicant. At this stage, Banco de Portugal may request additional documents.
  3. Decision on the license issuance or denied authorization.
  4. Preliminary check-up of compliance with the requirements – after the license issuance, the regulator examines the company office.
  5. License issuance.

How to obtain an EMI in Portugal 

To avoid being denied authorization by the Bank of Portugal, SBSB lawyers offer you their qualified services. We have years of hands-on experience with Portuguese EMI licensing and know how to proceed with the preparation and submission of the papers and negotiate with the regulator to get a positive result. We provide a “turn-key” service which means that you get the whole range of services and full client support at all stages. To get a consult, use our Telegram chat or call any of the numbers quoted in the “Contacts” section of the website. 

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