Electronic Money Institutions

Progress in technology has contributed to the development of a new kind of payment instrument - electronic money.

This may be in the form of value stored on a technical device such as a chip card or a computer. Electronic money (e-Money) can be best described as a digital form of cash since it has many of the characteristics of cash.

Customers buy the electronic equivalent of coins and notes. The customer, in effect, has exchanged cash for another means of payment. Instead of using a debit card (which requires a bank account) or a credit card (which requires a contract agreement) the customer has purchased a non-cash means of payment, which can be used in much the same way as cash or other forms of card payment but without the requirement of third party authorisation.

E-money can therefore be defined as monetary value as represented by a claim on the issuer, which is:

  • electronically stored
  • issued on receipt of funds for the purposes of making payment transactions
  • accepted as means of payment by a natural or legal person other than the issuer

An e-money institution is an undertaking that has been authorised to issue e-money in accordance with the European Communities (Electronic Money) Regulations 2011, as amended (EMR).

Directive 2009/110/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the taking up, pursuit and prudential supervision of the business of electronic money institutions (the Directive) was signed on 16 September 2009. The Directive was transposed into Irish law through the EMR. The EMR were further amended when the European Union (Payment Services) Regulations 2018 (PSR), which transposes Directive (EU) 2015/2366 (PSD2) into Irish law, came into effect on 13 January 2018.

Please refer to the following PSD2 - Frequently Asked Questions section for details on the PSD2 and the new PSR that may be of relevance to your firm.

Industry Communications

10 December 2021
The Central Bank has issued a Dear CEO letter with the purpose of setting out clearly the Central Bank’s expectations for all Payment and E-Money firms and the actions we expect the Boards and senior management of these firms to undertake to ensure the firms are in compliance, on an ongoing basis, with their regulatory requirements and any conditions imposed on the firms’ authorisation. In broad terms, the Central Bank expects regulated firms to be well-governed, with appropriate cultures, effective risk management and control arrangements in place. Firms should have sustainable business models with sufficient financial resources, including under a plausible but severe stress.  The Central Bank expects firms to be operationally resilient such that they are able to respond to, recover and learn from operational disruptions. Additionally, and importantly, the financial system must be protected from use for money laundering or terrorist financing activities.