Payment institutions are legal entities to which the Banco de España has granted an administrative authorisation to provide and execute one or more of the payment services provided for in Article 1.2 of Royal Decree Law 19/2018 of 23 November on payment services and other urgent measures in financial matters, such as:
- Cash deposit into a payment account,
- Cash withdrawal from a payment account,
- Execution of payment transactions through a payment account by means of credit transfers, direct debits or payment transactions by card or similar device (Debit payment transactions);
- Execution of payment transactions when funds are covered by a line of credit line, by credit transfers, direct debits or payment transactions by card or similar mechanism (Credit payment transactions)
- Issue of payment instruments or acquisition of payment transactions
- Sending of money
- Initiation of payments
- Information on accounts
The regulatory system for payment institutions, which governs the authorisation/registration requirements, is set out in the Royal Decree-Law 19/2018 of 23 November 2018 on payment services and other urgent financial measures, Article 5 of the Directive (EU) 2015/2366 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2015 on payment services and Royal Decree 736/2019 of 20 December 2019 on the legal system for payment services and payment institutions.
The Banco de España, following a report by the Executive Service of the Commission for the Prevention of Money Laundering and Monetary Offences on matters within its competence, shall be responsible for authorising the creation of payment institutions.
The application must be submitted to the Banco de España. The authorisation procedure and the documentation that must accompany the application and the deadline for a decisions can be consulted in the Banco de España's Virtual Office.
Royal Decree Law 19/2018 recognises other payment service providers that can provide payment services, such as credit institutions.
In addition, Royal Decree Law 19/2018 provides that certain payment service providers are only subject to the registration procedure. In this sense:
The entities providing solely the account information service (here in after ‘"aggregators’") are natural or legal persons that must be registered in the Special register of the Banco de España provided for in Article 13 of Royal Decree Law 19/2018. The registration procedure and the documentation that must accompany the application can be consulted in the Banco de España's Virtual Office.
Moreover, those payment service providers whose average total value of payment transactions executed in the previous 12 months does not exceed €3,000,000 per month will be exempt from the general system of authorisation for payment institutions, although they must register, after verification by the Banco de España of the requirements set out in this article, in the special register referred to in Article 13 of Royal Decree Law 19/2018, for which the legal system applicable to this register and the conditions for the exercise of their activity is pending implementation.
Furthermore, Royal Decree Law 19/2018 identifies certain activities that are excluded from the scope of application of this regulation, among others, payment transactions from the payer to the payee that are made through a commercial agent acting on behalf of a third party or cash withdrawals at ATMs exclusively dedicated to this activity. Two other exclusions merit mention due to their relevance for registration purposes:
- The provision of services based on specific payment instruments which can only be used on a limited basis and which comply with certain conditions set out in Article 4.k) of Royal Decree Law 19/2018. Thise Royal Decree Law Ley requires that when the transactions carried out in the preceding 12 months by the limited network exceed a monthly average of one million euros, the payment service provider must notify the Banco de España of this situation on an annual basis for assessment and, where appropriate, authorisation or registration.
- The operations of a provider of electronic communication networks or services related to purchases of digital content or other goods or services that meet certain conditions established in aArticle 4.l) of Royal Decree Law 19/2018. In this case, there is also an obligation to notify the Banco de España annually for assessment and, where appropriate, authorisation or registration, together with a report from an independent external expert certifying that such activity complies with the conditions set out in Article 4.l) of Royal Decree Law 19/2018.
Notification to the Banco de España of both issues must be submitted using the forms established for this purpose, which can be found in the Virtual Office.
The notification procedure for the opening of branches and the freedom to provide services in Spain by payment institutions from other EU member states is conditional upon the Banco de España receiving a communication from the supervisory authority of the payment institution's home country. In the case of branches, upon receipt of the notification, the Banco de España shall notify the payment institution and the latter, after having registered the branch in the Commercial Register, shall also proceed to register it in the Special Register of the Banco de España. Once the branch is registered in the Special Register of the Banco de España, it may commence its activities, although it must notify the Banco de España of the date on which these activities actually commence. Freedom to provide services may commence as soon as the Banco de España receives notification from the supervisory authority of the country of origin.