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What is a payment service provider?

A payment service provider is one whose business it is to provide payment services, according to Section 1:1 of the Financial Supervision Act (Wet op het financieel toezicht – Wft). These services must be provided to persons making payments (consumers) or parties using the payment services (retailers), or both. So a payment service provider acts as an intermediary between the two.

Published: 08 August 2016

To determine whether an enterprise qualifies as a payment service provider, the following questions must be answered:

  1. Do the proposed activities qualify as a payment service? Please note that there are specific services that the Wft explicitly does not qualify as payment services. See "Services not requiring a licence"
  2. Will it be the enterprise's "business" to provide payment services?

Three categories of payment service providers 

There are three categories of payment service providers:

  1. Payment institutions: enterprises holding a licence specifically for providing payment services, issued by DNB.
  2. Exempt payment service providers: enterprises exempt from the licence requirement under the Exemption Regulation under the Wft (Vrijstellingsregeling Wft). An exempt payment service provider may start its operations only after DNB has entered it as such in the public register.
  3. Banks and electronic money institutions: these are already authorised to act as a payment service provider under their licences, to the extent permitted under those licences. They are excepted from the licence requirement for payment service providers.


Exempt payment service providers and excepted banks and electronic money institution do not need a licence from DNB, whereas other payment service providers do. Accordingly, payment service providers holding a licence issued by DNB are referred to as payment institutions. Their licence requirement is set out in Section 2:3a of the Financial Supervision Act (Wet op het financieel toezicht – Wft).

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