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Fintech marathon or in which countries is EMI license popular?

Each of us has dealt with banks at least once in our lives: opening an account, receiving a scholarship or salary, paying for utilities. The average citizen, who is not involved in the world of financial service providers, does not really understand what palette of financial institutions the fintech sphere offers. Recently, a new category of entities has appeared on the financial services market, positioning themselves as new financial institutions that work faster than a traditional bank, are more flexible and more convenient for business participants.

Electronic-money institutions have become an integral part of the financial services market, electronic money has become a digital alternative to cash. Attracting such funds allows users to make quick cashless payments, store funds on cards and smartphones or on their accounts on the Internet network. The regulatory rules of the European Union in relation to electronic money are aimed at improving safe and innovative financial services and encouraging effective competition between all market participants.


EMI license: what is it and why?


This is a type of financial license that is granted to an entity to provide financial services. Issuance of such a license is clearly regulated by the Regulator, which checks the candidate's compliance with the relevant legislation and, in case of a positive check, issues a permit document for carrying out specialized activities.


Although the process of obtaining an EMI license is not new to the financial market, certain legal "traditions" have already developed in this industry, and the list of jurisdictions that will be mentioned below is the most attractive for potential financial service providers.


"Fintech-friendly" countries in Europe


The EMI license is issued by the national regulator in the countries of the European Union and Great Britain based on the results of a long-term verification procedure of the applicant (its corporate structure, officials, tax and financial information, etc.). Although the general legal acts that regulate the activities of EMI institutions are adopted at the level of the entire EU, national regulators can establish their own specifics for obtaining such a permit document. In recent years, a tradition has emerged, according to which some countries have become a real "hub" for obtaining such licenses.



United Kingdom


The Foggy Albion broke into the charts in terms of the number of license applications and issuance of such EMI licenses and still holds a worthy place among the most attractive jurisdictions for obtaining the desired permit among candidates.


The application for obtaining a financial license is made to the British Regulator - the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which will check the candidate for compliance with the conditions for obtaining such a permit.


Now, there are more than 230 EMI institutions operating in Great Britain, which offer their services not only within the European Union and the European Economic Area, but also in other regions of the world business (LATAM, Asian Region, North America, etc.).




The Republic of Lithuania is a member of the European Union and the European Economic Area and is also known on the financial market as a jurisdiction with a favorable business climate.


The Central Bank of Lithuania, which is the Regulator in this country, is the authority that issues EMI licenses after conducting all the necessary procedures for checking candidates. Now, the Regulator has issued about 84 financial licenses to institutions, and another 25 applications of candidates for obtaining authorization documents are under consideration by the Central Bank of the Republic of Lithuania.




This small European country, which is a member of the European Union and the European Economic Area, is known for its strong financial sector and attractive business climate. The regulator in this country - the Financial Services Authority of Malta - is the responsible body for accepting applications and issuing permits - EMI licenses.


The financial services market is not limited to banks and EMI institutions, but the latter have gained high popularity among business participants over the past 8 years.


At the same time, taking into account the trends of the fintech market, it can be stated that the number of issued licenses for the activities of electronic money institutions is decreasing: in 2018, 147 new EMI institutions appeared in Great Britain, and in 2022, only 8, in 2020 Regulators in the EU issued licenses for 78 new institutions, and in 2022 only 31.


The decrease in the number of EMI licenses is due to a few factors, among which one can single out, for example, the inability to compete with other "EMI giants" of the financial market, improvement of services in traditional banks (for example, the launch of online banking services), so that catch up with modern trends, etc.


The above jurisdictions remain the most attractive for potential candidates and those seeking to obtain the desired financial license.



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Bekir Ablaiev

Bekir Ablaiev



Member since

06 Jul



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