Payment Services and E-money Business
Erlaubnispflicht : Deutsche VersionRequirement of a Licence : English version
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Who needs a BaFin Licence?

Requirement of a Licence for conducting Payment Services:

Anybody must apply for a licence under section 8 ZAG if he conducts or intends to conduct

  • payment services
  • commercially or on a scale that requires a commercially equipped business establishment
  • in Germany
  • as a payment institution.

Someone acts commercially in the meaning of the law if he establishes his business with the intent to operate it for some time (a single transaction is sufficient if it is made with the intent that similar transactions will follow in the future) and acts with the intent of generating a profit. 

If someone is not acting commercially (for example because he does not intend to generate a profit), it must moreover be examined, whether he operates or intends to operate a business on a scale which requires a commercially equipped business establishment. Regarding payment services it remains unclear to a large extent, when that is the case. The BaFin’s administrative practice is only known regarding money remittance, where the BaFin considers a business to be on a scale which requires a commercially equipped business establishment if 5 transactions with a volume (sum of incoming and outgoing transactions) of 5.000 € on average per month are effected.

A company acts in Germany if it is either located (with its statutory seat) in Germany or established a branch in Germany. However, under certain conditions, a company may be considered to act in Germany if it repeatedly offers its services in Germany from abroad in a purposeful, commercial way. Companies from member states of the European Economic Area can conduct payment services in Germany if they have the so called “European Passport”, requiring them to have a corresponding licence in their country of origin and “passporting” that licence to Germany (which means extending the territorial scope of the licence by notifying the competent supervisory authorities). Companies having their statutory seat outside the European Economic Area must apply for a BaFin licence irrespective of a potentially existing licence in their country of origin.

Requirement of a Licence for Conducting the E-Money Business:

Anybody must apply for a licence under section 8a ZAG if he conducts or intends to conduct

  • the e-money business
  • in Germany (see above)
  • as an e-money institution