Exemption from the authorisation requirement
Anyone that provides payment services in the Netherlands on a commercial basis must either hold the appropriate licence issued by DNB or be exempt from the licence requirement. Small payment service providers may apply for exemption. They are allowed to operate in the Netherlands without a licence after they have submitted evidence to DNB showing they meet specific conditions and after we have entered them in our public register.
If you wish us to register your institution as an exempt payment service provider in our public register, you must submit a notification. You can submit your notification through the Digital Supervision Portal (DLT). Please note that you (or your legal adviser) will need eHerkenning to be able to access the portal.
You must first verify whether your company is actually a payment service provider, based on Section 1:1 of the Financial Supervision Act (Wet op het financieel toezicht – Wft). You will find more information on this page: What is a payment service provider?
The Wft specifically excludes a number of services from the definition of payment services. An overview can be found here: Services not requiring a licence: Payment services not requiring a licence.
You will be asked to provide legal substantiation in the notification form confirming that your company qualifies as a payment service provider. We recommend that you consult an expert to support you in the notification process, a legal adviser for instance. Practice has shown that notifications are often more complete and of a substantially higher quality if the company has sought expert advice. This enables us to consider notifications more quickly and more thoroughly.
Conditions for exemption
We can only enter your institution in the public register as an exempt payment service provider if you also demonstrate that you meet the conditions listed in the Exemption Regulation under the Wft (Vrijstellingsregeling Wft). Exemption is subject to the following conditions, which are listed in Section 1a of the Exemption Regulation.
- The payment services you intend to provide must be listed under items 1 to 5 of the Annex to the European Payment Services Directive (2015/2366EU) (PSD2).
- Services 6 (money remittance), 7 (payment initiation services) and 8 (account information services) are not covered by Section 1a of the Exemption Regulation.
- For more information, please go to: Payment services not requiring a licence
- You must provide payment services in the Netherlands only.
- On average, the aggregate amount in payment transactions may not have exceeded EUR 3 million a month over the past twelve months.
- The individuals determining or co-determining the company's operating policies have no criminal record as meant in Section 6(a), (b) and (d) of the Decree on Prudential Rules for Financial Undertakings (Besluit prudentiële regels Wft – Bpr) relating to money laundering, terrorist financing, offences against property or instances of non-compliance with financial supervision legislation that constitute criminal offences.
- Your company must safeguard the funds it receives from the users of its payment services, either by using a customer accounts foundation (stichting derdengelden), taking out an insurance policy or obtaining a guarantee from a bank or insurer.
Entry in the register
Once you have established that your company meets the conditions listed above, you may request that we enter it in the public register as an exempt payment service provider. Please complete the notification form, sign it, attach all required documents and submit it via the DLT.
We will then verify whether your company meets the conditions listed in the Exemption Regulation. If it does, we will enter your organisation in our public register as an exempt payment service provider and you may start providing services. If it does not meet the conditions, you may not start providing payment services.
Please note: registration as an exempt payment service provider does not mean that your company becomes subject to our regular supervision. This means that you must always make explicit mention of the fact that your company is not subject to our supervision when referring to your registration on your website, in your correspondence or in any other forms of communication. Not being subject to our supervision does not mean, however, that your company has no obligations.
Obligations of an exempt payment service provider
Pursuant to Section 1a(4) of the Exemption Regulation under the Wft, every exempt payment service provider is obliged to notify us of changes in its situation that are relevant to its exemption. Examples include an increase in the geographic scope of its services, e.g. if it starts providing services to parties outside the Netherlands, a change in board members' antecedents or expected payment transactions in excess of the monthly EUR 3 million threshold. If the company no longer meets the conditions for exemption, the exemption ceases to apply with immediate effect by operation of law. You must therefore anticipate such changes and start preparations to apply for a licence to operate as a payment service provider in good time, or run the risk of non-compliance. If your company provides services without the required licence you will need to stop providing payment services and we may impose enforcement measures.
If your company is exempted from the licence requirement, it must still meet prudential requirements, e.g. those listed in Sections 26e to 26h of the Decree on Prudential Rules for Financial Undertakings (Besluit prudentiële regels Wft – Bpr). Furthermore, exempt payment service providers still have obligations in terms of conduct, such as those mentioned in Section 4:25d of the Wft, read in conjunction with Part 7B of Book 7 of the Dutch Civil Code. The Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) supervises compliance. We would also emphasise that a payment service provider – even if it is exempt – falls under the scope of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorist Financing Act (Wet ter voorkoming van witwassen en het financieren van terrorisme – Wwft). It must therefore notify the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU-NL) of any unusual transactions and perform customer due diligence.