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Payment services subject to authorisation requirement

Anyone not having been granted authorisation by DNB is prohibited from pursuing the business of a payment service provider. The prohibition is contained in article 2:3a of the Financial Supervision Act (Wet op het financieel toezicht). The authorisation requirement and the supervision of payment service providers are based on the European Payment Services Directive (2007/64/EC). The prohibition concerns services to users of payment services in which, for the benefit of customers, payment accounts are operated, credit transfers are made, funds are deposited or withdrawn and payment instruments are issued or accepted. All these acts always concern services rendered to customers who are at the same time end-users or, in other words, services provided to the payor and/or the payee. In this respect, the payment service provider acts as intermediary.

Published: 31 January 2024

The Act distinguishes seven kinds of payment services. They may be provided as a single service or as a combination of services. The payment services are listed in the Annex to the European Payment Services Directive (2007/64/EC). The payment services concerned are the following:

  1. Services enabling cash to be placed on a payment account as well as all the operations required for operating a payment account

    This concerns services permitting cash (coins or banknotes) to be paid into a payment account held at the service provider. An institution which offers a payment account permitting cash to be deposited on the account provides this service.
  2. Services enabling cash withdrawals from a payment account as well as all the operations required for operating a payment account

    These services make it possible to make cash withdrawals from (non-cash) funds held in a payment account at the service provider. An institution which offers a payment account with a payment instrument (such as a debit card) permitting cash to be withdrawn from the account provides this service.
  3. Execution of payment transactions, including transfers of funds, on a payment account with the user's payment service provider or with another payment service provider:

    - execution of direct debits, including one-off direct debits
    - execution of payment transactions through a payment card or a similar device
    - execution of credit transfers, including standing orders
    These payment services concern the execution of payment transactions, that is, the execution of an order for transferring, depositing or withdrawing funds on a payment account. It is irrelevant whether the payment account is held at the provider of this particular service or at another payment service provider.
    If an institution provides a service involving the transfer of funds between payment accounts on the instructions of a third party, service 3 is in evidence. It is irrelevant how the instruction has been designed, whether it is given by means of a debit card, by means of written authorisation, by electronic means or even verbally. It is likewise irrelevant whether the instruction is non-recurrent or if it takes the form of a standing order to transfer a fixed or variable amount at certain points in time.
    Service 3 is in evidence in the case of an institution which renders services to (online) shops regarding acceptance of payment instruments, such as a debit card or a credit card, as a result of which payment transactions are executed through the intermediary of the payment service provider.
    An institution which enables consumers to purchase products or services from third parties and which, in that context, receives funds from these consumers for on-payment to the third parties concerned also provides this payment service.
    An institution which itself issues a payment instrument (service 5) which may be used to transfer, withdraw or deposit funds also provides service 3. The same is generally true of institutions which offer payment accounts (services 1/2).
    An institution which provides services regarding depositing and/or withdrawing cash, with the value of the cash being debited or credited to a bank account, also provides service 3. The fact is that this service concerns the execution of payment transactions. Cases in point are the operation of a cash deposit machine or an automated teller machine. It might be noted that the Financial Supervision Act (Wet op het financieel toezicht) provides for an exemption for operators of automated teller machines which do not offer any other payment services.
  4. Execution of payment transactions where the funds are covered by a credit line for a payment service user:

    - execution of direct debits, including one-off direct debits
    - execution of payment transactions through a payment card or a similar device
    - execution of credit transfers, including standing orders
    In principle, service 4 is the same as service 3, except that, in the case of service 4, there is a credit line. Cases in point are situations where the amount to be paid is advanced by the payment service provider and the provision of services regarding a payment account (services 1/2) which may be overdrawn.
    Service 4 is in evidence as soon as, when executing a payment transaction, a payment service provider draws on a credit granted by it.
    For the rest, the reader is referred to the notes to service 3.
  5. Issuing and/or acquiring of payment instruments

    A payment instrument is a means or method used to give a payment instruction. Examples are debit cards and credit cards. The instrument may be tangible, such as a card, or be intangible, such as a logical procedure for remote communication, such as a password or a transaction authorisation number code.
    The operation of a payment account (services 1/2) is usually attended by the issue of a payment instrument.
    Acceptance of a payment instrument is in evidence if an institution acting as intermediary accepts the use of payment instruments (irrespective of the issuer) – not on its own behalf but on behalf of a third party – and channels the payment to the ultimate beneficiary.
    Institutions providing services to (online) shops regarding acceptance of payment instruments provide service 5.
  6. Money remittance

    Service 6 is in evidence if, without an account being opened, funds are received from a payor for the sole purpose of remitting the corresponding amount either directly to the payee or to another payment service provider which pays the funds to the ultimate beneficiary.
    In practice, money remittances are mainly used to remit funds to payees abroad, notably in countries with a less developed banking system and without widespread use of bank accounts. Money remittances are also used to effectuate unexpected urgent payments.
    Services which, prior to the implementation of the Payment Services Directive, were designated as money remittances within the meaning of the Money Transactions Offices Act (Wet inzake de geldtransactiekantoren) are now regarded as service 6.
  7. Execution of payment transactions where the consent of the payor to execute a payment transaction is given by means of any telecommunication, digital or IT device and the payment is made to the telecommunication, IT system or network operator, acting only as an intermediary between the payment service user and the supplier of the goods or services.

    This service solely relates to payment services provided by a telecommunication, IT system or network operator. Examples of such operators are telecommunication providers, cable network providers and Internet providers.
    The operator provides this service if it accepts payment transactions initiated by the payor using a telephone or a computer and if payment is made directly to the operator. Thus, the operator is the third party in between the payment service user and the supplier of the goods or services paid for.
    Service 7 is only in evidence if the operator solely acts as intermediary in connection with the underlying transaction between the payor and the payee. Only if the operator acts solely as intermediary for payments and does not add value itself is it regarded as a provider of payment service 7. If the operator adds value to the goods or services for which payment is effected, for instance in the form of access, distribution or search possibilities, service 7 is not in evidence.
    Where service 7 is concerned, attention must be paid to the exemption for telecommunication and IT services (see exempted payment services).

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