Latvia EMI license (Electronic Money Institution)
A Latvia EMI license (Electronic Money Institution) is easy to secure with Tetra Consultants’ assistance.
Every credit institution that issues electronic money in Latvia can either register as an electronic money institution or obtain an EMI license. Registering as an electronic money institution will allow your company to conduct electronic money services within Latvia. If you wish to provide electronic money services such as provision of cash deposit and withdrawal services outside of Latvia and within the European Economic Area (EEA), you will have to procure an EMI license.
Introduction to Latvia EMI license
- In 2020, non-cash payments accounted for EUR 181 billion of payments in Latvia. The total value of non-cash payments is on the rise, despite decrease in total number of payments made. This highlights the potential of electronic money in Latvia.
- All electronic market institutions with a Latvia EMI license are regulated by the Financial and Capital Market Commission and governed by the provisions in the Law on Payment Services and Electronic Money.
- Regulations of electronic money institutions in Latvia are also in compliance with the EU electronic money directive (EMD).
- Only electronic market institutions licensed in Latvia or an EU member are allowed to issue electronic money. This is to prevent the circulation of electronic money that has not been issued in accordance with the laws and regulations set out by the Financial and Capital Market Commission.
- Tetra Consultants recommends getting a Latvia EMI license if you wish to provide e-money services to the European market.
When will you require a Latvia EMI license?
- Any company that issues or wishes to issue electronic money will need to apply for an Electronic Money Institution (EMI) license.
- According to the Law on Payment Services and Electronic Money in Latvia, electronic money has the following characteristics:
- Stores monetary value electronically (e.g. through a smart card, computer),
- Is represented by a claim on the issuer.
- Is retrieved by the electronic money holder to make payments,
- Can be used to pay for goods and services sold by a natural or legal person who is not the electronic money issuer.
- Generally, companies that issue e-money are required to obtain an EMI license from the Financial and Capital Market Commission. A Latvia EMI license will allow an electronic money institution to perform the following activities:
- Issue electronic money
- Provide payment services
- Provide services related to the issuing of electronic money
- Facilitate the operation of payment systems
- Conduct other business activities in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations
- However, there are certain instances where a company may not need an EMI license to provide e-money services. Instead, the company can choose to acquire the status of a registered electronic money institution through the Financial and Capital Market Commission. A registered electronic money institution will only be subjected to the minimum capital requirement of a limited liability company (i.e. EUR 2800). The conditions to register as an electronic money institution without an EMI license are as follow:
- The electronic money institution can only provide a closed system for issuing and redeeming electronic money; or offer a money remittance service and a payment instrument issuing service. A closed system means that account holders of e-money cannot transfer e-money from their accounts to another party outside of the system.
- The average amount of electronic money circulated for a commercial activity undertaken by the electronic money institution must not exceed EUR 2 million.
- Electronic money holders and payment service users must be residents of Latvia.
- The Board of Director and legal address of the electronic money institution must be in Latvia. Business activities must also be conducted within Latvia.
- The electronic money institution has no intentions to provide international payment services or electronic money related services outside of Latvia.
- An electronic money institution that does not require an EMI license will be required to register through the Commission and submit documents such as a business plan, information regarding the persons that have a direct or indirect qualifying hold in the institution, the procedures of the institution to facilitate effective internal control required for the prevention of money laundering and terrorism financing, etc.
- Generally, a company that issues electronic money will have to apply for an EMI license if they do not meet the stipulated conditions above.
Mandatory requirements for EMI license
- A licensed electronic money institution must have a minimum initial capital of EUR 350,000.
- Electronic money institution that provides additional account information service or payment initiation service must insure its professional civil liabilities.
- Members of the Board or council of the electronic money institution must have an untarnished reputation and be equipped with the relevant skills and experience.
- Individuals who have acquired a qualifying holding directly or indirectly in the electronic money institution must also have an untarnished reputation.
- The management board and legal address of the licensed institution must be located in the Republic of Latvia.
- Although the company’s business activities are not limited to Latvia, at least part of the business activities conducted by the institution must be linked to Latvia.
Documents required for EMI license
- Articles of Association
- A programme of operations
- A business plan (must be for at least three financial years)
- Proof of initial capital
- Description of measures implemented to safeguard the money of payment service users and electronic money holders
- Description of your business’ systems for managing risk and internal control
- Protocol of the business to maintain good governance of the internal control system to avoid money laundering and terrorism financing
- Description of the measures and methods to register, keep track of and restrict access to payment data
- Description of the procedure to collect relevant data on the operation of the institution
- Description of the information system security policy and security control measures
- Information regarding the persons that have a direct or indirect qualifying hold in the institution
- Information regarding members in the management board and council, important shareholders and the personnel directly responsible for the management of the operation of the institution
How long to secure a Latvia EMI license?
- Before applying for Latvia EMI license, Tetra Consultants will assist you in registering a Latvia company by providing a local company address and local company secretary. Typically, this process should take approximately 3 weeks.
- Upon registering the company, we will proceed to apply for a Latvia EMI license (Electronic Money Institution) for your company. Generally, you can expect your EMI license application to take around 6 months. Each application will be reviewed individually, and the Financial and Capital Market Commission may revert asking for additional supporting documents or information if the information previously provided is missing, incomplete, or inconsistent.
- Once a Latvia EMI license has been procured, Tetra Consultants will proceed to open a corporate bank account with a reputable local or international bank. You can expect your corporate bank account to be ready in 4 weeks.
- Consequently, you can expect to start operations and issue invoices with your Latvia electronic money institution within 8 months upon engaging Tetra Consultants.
How to apply for an EMI license in Latvia?
Step 1: Assessment of business activity and license requirements
- Tetra Consultants needs to understand the intended business activity and corporate structure to advise on whether Latvia EMI license is the most suitable for your company.
- As such, Tetra Consultants will assess your shareholder documents to give you a preliminary KYC clearance.
- If your company needs an EMI license, Tetra Consultants will arrange for a pre-application meeting with the Financial and Capital Market Commission to assess your company’s eligibility for a Latvia EMI license.
- During the meeting, the Commission will clarify the procedure and requirements for procuring an EMI license in Latvia.
- Tetra Consultants will assist with the preparation of an introductory presentation to the Commission, based on the business plan and documents you provide.
Step 2: Latvia company registration
- Before Tetra Consultants can register company in Latvia, you are required to provide a list of required KYC documents. Some of these documents include the names of directors, company’s resolution and identification proof.
- Based on the documents provided, Tetra Consultants will draft and notarize the Memorandum and Articles of Association, business plan and other incorporation documents. Tetra Consultants will assist you in ensuring the following key information are prepared as per requirement:
- Proof that capital requirement of EUR 350,000 is met
- Organizational structure with background of each relevant office holder
- Description of each type of payment services to be provided
- Payment transaction diagram
- Payment market analysis
- Targeted market segment description
- Marketing activities and distribution channels
- Forecast quarterly budget calculations for the next 3 years under target and stress scenarios
- Key assumptions (client, transaction numbers, pricing, financing sources, etc.) including the relevant explanations
- AML and risk compliance
- Technical system risk compliance
- After preparing the relevant documents, Tetra Consultants will register your company through the e-service in Latvia Commercial Register.
- Tetra Consultants will also register your company for Value-Added Tax (VAT) through the State Revenue Service (SRS) Electronic Declaration System.
Step 3: Registration as an Electronic Money Institution
- Although you can apply directly for an EMI license without registering as an electronic money institution, Tetra Consultants recommends that your company registers as an electronic money institution before applying for an EMI license.
- This is because most of the documents needed to register an electronic money institution are also required for the application of an EMI license. Registering an electronic money institution will allow you to start operations within Latvia and familiarise with the rules and regulations stipulated by the Commission.
- Tetra Consultants will assist your company in preparing the relevant documents and registering as an electronic money institution with the Commission.
Step 4: License application
- A registered electronic money institution can only operate and provide e-money services within Latvia. To operate outside Latvia, your company will need an EMI license.
- As such, Tetra Consultants will assist you in preparing the documents required for application of an EMI license in Latvia after your company has successfully registered as an electronic money institution. Documents required include:
- Organizational structure
- Protection of customer fund
- Management structure and internal control system
- Outsourcing services and control
- AML/CTF policy
- The Commission may request the company to make amendments or submit additional documents if there are deficiencies in the documents submitted. Tetra Consultants will make the required adjustments and submit the amended documents, if necessary.
- The Commission will decide whether to issue a license based on the documents submitted within 3 months after all relevant documents have been submitted. The EMI license will be issued for an indefinite period.
- The Commission may choose not to issue a license if the information submitted is insufficient, dishonest or does not provide for sensible and effective administration of the institution. Tetra Consultants will advise you on your business model and make sure that the procedures and systems drafted are aligned with the requirements of the Law on Payment Services and Electronic Money and AML/CFT regulations.
Step 5: Corporate bank account opening
- Tetra Consultants will assist in consolidating the required corporate documents and opening a corporate bank account with a reputable bank that provides the relevant services such as multi-currency accounts, SEPA, IBAN and SWIFT.
- Typically, directors and shareholders are not required to travel to Latvia to open the corporate bank account. However, if travel is required, we will have a representative accompany you to the bank meeting. Alternatively, our team will negotiate with the banks to conduct a conference call instead or to request for a waiver.
- Once the bank account has been successfully opened, Tetra Consultants will courier the internet banking token and access codes to your preferred address.
Step 6: Annual accounting and tax obligations
- Tetra Consultants’ team of Chartered Accountants will ensure that your newly established electronic money institution continues to meet regulatory laws set by the SRS of the Republic of Latvia. This includes providing you with monthly bookkeeping, preparation of financial statements and annual tax return filings.
- By the end of January of each year, an electronic money institution must submit to the Commission a list of shareholders who had qualifying holding in the institution as of 31 December of the previous year.
- Information about the shareholders and their extent of involvement in terms of number of voting stock or percentage of equity capital held must also be reported.
- The Commission can request for additional reports on the operations of the institution and regulatory environment, if deemed necessary.
- Besides submitting an audited annual report to the SRS of the Republic of Latvia, electronic money institutions are also required to report the sum of outstanding electronic money, which will be done on the end of December of the reporting year. They will also have to announce the sum of electronic money redeemed in the reporting year.
Contact us to find out more about how to secure Latvia EMI license to conduct electronic money services. Our team of experts will revert within the next 24 hours.
Find out more!
- Acquiring a payment license is an overwhelming process if you are unaware of the rules and regulations governing such type of license. Tetra Consultants’ team of professional experts along with project managing the incorporation of companies all over the globe, is also proficient in serving your licensing needs to ensure that you have a good legal standing in the market of the proposed jurisdiction.
- Our licensing experts are well versed with the process of acquiring other offshore financial licenses as well.
What is an EMI license?
- An EMI license is required for an electronic money institution to issue e-money. The e-money can be stored in the client’s e-wallet, prepaid card or payment account. Depending on the license obtained, the e-money issued can be used within a region or country to pay for goods and services and converted to other currencies. A Latvia EMI license allows the electronic money institution to issue e-money and provide e-money related services within the European Union (EU).
Is an electronic money institution a bank?
- An electronic money institution is not a bank. However, a bank can act as an electronic money institution if it procures an EMI license. This will allow the bank to issue e-money to clients and provide other e-money related services.
- Unlike banks, electronic money institutions are not allowed to lend money to clients or issue credit cards. The traditional role of the bank is to lend money, and this includes providing credit products such as mortgages, bonds, business loans, etc. These services cannot be provided by an electronic money institution.
What services can you provide with a Latvia EMI license?
- A Latvia EMI license allows you to issue electronic money, provide payment services and other services related to electronic money and facilitate the operation of payment systems. An electronic money institution that holds a Latvia EMI license can operate within Latvia or expand their operations outside of Latvia to countries in the EU.
What constitutes e-money?
- E-money is commonly defined as electronic money stored in a computer system or technical device that contains a monetary value. They are typically stored in a phone or card and are used to make payments during the purchase of goods and services. Since e-money is usually backed by fiat money, it is different from cryptocurrency that is based on blockchain technology. Common examples of e-money include electronic money issued by debit cards and PayPal payments.
What is the difference between a payment institution and an electronic money institution in Latvia?
- The main difference between a payment institution and electronic money institution is that an electronic money institution can issue money in addition to providing payment services. Since an electronic money institution is able to issue electronic money, clients’ fund in an electronic money institution can be stored for a longer period of time in the client’s payment accounts such as e-wallets. This is not possible for payment accounts in a payment institution.
What is the difference between registering as an EMI and applying for an EMI license in Latvia?
- Registering as an EMI in Latvia will only allow you to act as a payment service provider or provider of e-money related services within Latvia. Offering any electronic money or international payment service outside of the country will not be permitted. However, if your business possess an EMI license, it will be authorized to offer services pertaining to electronic money both within and outside of the country. The license will be valid for use in any nation that is a part of the European Union such as Estonia or Lithuania.