Voice Commerce, the UK-based biometric payment verification group established by former RBS WorldPay founder Nick Ogden, has received authorisation from the Financial Services Authority to establish as a Payment Institution under the European Payment Services Directive (PSD).
The license means Voice Commerce will be regulated in exactly the same way as banks in relation to their capital adequacy and regulatory responsibilities for payment services, and can begin processing payment transactions across Europe on an equal footing. Under the new regime, Voice Commerce will also be able to apply for Visa and MasterCard card scheme membership and start providing its own branded payment services including issuing cards to businesses and consumers and acquiring payment transactions.
The green light from the FSA follows news that Voice Commerce CEO Ogden is in talks with three private equity groups about buying back the WorldPay franchise from RBS, which is being forced to dispose of the asset as a consequence of state-backed bail out support.
Ogden says Voice Commerce applied for authorisation to the FSA back in July 2009, and has invested heavily in people and technology in readiness for approval. As a fully authorised Payment Institution, Voice Commerce can verify to merchants that they meet these standards to the FSA's satisfaction and can be regarded as an alternative option for payment services.
Says Ogden: "This also means that we have all the financial regulatory aspects resolved in Europe for our proposed purchase of RBS WorldPay. We can now look to leverage this opportunity to grow the business throughout Europe and bring new creativity and development to the industry through the introduction of our innovative payment services. The FSA and the Jersey Financial Regulators have been extremely helpful throughout the whole process and we are now poised to capture and exploit opportunities in the mobile and online world."