Fintech & Digital BankingTech News

How the licenses for the issue of electronic money are issued in the European Union

Recently, Bilderlings conducted a study examining the statistics on the issuance of EMI licenses in the EEA throughout the history of its existence. We chose 10 most interesting facts that can be useful for your business (if you yourself are engaged in financial technologies or use the payment services and want to keep abreast of things in the industry). All data is taken from the register of the European Banking Authority. The study was conducted in February, but for this article we updated the main figures.

EMI (Electronic Money Institution) is the most comprehensive license for electronic money transactions. Electronic wallets, payment services work under this license. The main types of services of companies working with an EMI license are opening a current account, money transfers and conversion.

1.  The Very First

The first EMI license was issued in 2010 in Luxembourg. In total, there are currently 8 EMI licenses issued in Luxembourg.

2. Number of the Year

To date (May 2020) 387 EMI licenses have been registered, 18 of which already this year, including “quarantine months” (8 in the UK, 3 in Lithuania and 1 each in Malta, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Bulgaria, Norway and Poland).

3. The Most Experienced

The top 6 leaders in terms of the number of EMI issued are as follows:

  • Great Britain (177),
  • Lithuania (60),
  • Malta (17),
  • France (14),
  • Cyprus (13),
  • Ireland (12).

Please note that the UK accounts are almost half of all European EMIs, 16% of EMI companies are concentrated in Lithuania, and the remaining countries account for less than 5%.

4. “The EMIest”

The peak of the popularity of EMI licenses fell in 2018, when 205 licenses were issued, i.e., 10 times more than during the previous year.

5. The Most Progressive

The jurisdiction that issued the most number of licenses in one calendar year is the United Kingdom, which issued as many as 143 licenses in 2018.

6. Newcomers

Companies involved in the issue of electronic money started gaining popularity in 2017. This has inspired many countries to begin issuing EMI licenses in their jurisdictions. (Perhaps the “newcomers” will show greater zeal in arranging infrastructure for financial technologies to compete with other countries.)

Countries that started issuing EMI licenses after 2018 are Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden.

7. Steep Turns

Interest in the electronic money industry can be found by examining the dynamics of licensing in different countries.

Top jurisdictions that are most actively and dynamically increasing the number of EMI licenses under their regulation are England, Lithuania, Ireland.

  • In England, over the previous 5 years, only 1 EMI license was issued, and in 2018, as many as 143.
  • In Lithuania in 2016, only 2 EMI licenses were issued, already 14 of them in 2017, and 21 in 2018.
  • In Ireland, until 2018, there were no EMI licenses; in 2018, 2 were issued, and in 2019 already 10.

8. The Most Systematic

If some jurisdictions drew attention to EMI only after an explosive interest in 2018, many states systematically work with this type of license, issuing them almost every year – though little by little.

  • Malta – 9 years in a row
  • France – 7 years in a row
  • Lithuania – 7 years (over 10)
  • Luxembourg – 6 years (over 10)
  • Liechtenstein – 5 years (over 8 years)

9. Canceled

In total, according to the study, 4 EMI licenses were canceled – in the Czech Republic, Germany, Latvia and Malta. It is noteworthy that the licenses were canceled in all countries in 2019.

10. Zero-EMI

Countries where no EMI licenses have been registered yet:

  • Austria,
  • Iceland,
  • Norway,
  • Poland.*

* while the text was being prepared for publication, Poland managed to issue its first ever EMI license! We mentioned this in paragraph 2, but we want to emphasize that until April 2020, full EMI licenses had not been issued in Poland.

Show More


BIO: Dmitry graduated from the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics of the RTU, and at the age of 19he started to work in sales. After three years, he transferred to a bank where he was working as an investment consultant and quickly ascended to a managerial position. Two years later, he went on to work as a business development director at a private company (in the fields of investments, real estate, finance). In 2013, he founded his own company, which deals with asset management in real estate and with investments in real estate. In 2015, he joined the fintech platform Bilderlings, where he ascended from the position of the head of the sales department to the executive director. Today at Bilderlings he is responsible for business processes, sales, and marketing.“In fintech, I like everything related to the sales process. Everything where you can help someone else's business to develop faster – after all, the business of our clients depends on the speed of transactions and our technological flexibility. As for personal interests, I am inspired by interior design, because it allows you to breathe life into empty space! And people will live in that space, which was lifeless just yesterday. Interiordesign has a lot in common with fintech – from a scratch, you create a space that helps people to live better or work better.
Back to top button