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Obtaining a Payment Institution license in Switzerland

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Obtaining a PI license in Switzerland in 2020

Benefits of obtaining a PI license in this jurisdiction:

  • A stable economic situation in the country;
  • Reliable banking structure;
  • Globally recognized prestige of the jurisdiction;
  • A rapidly developing online banking sector.
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The establishment of a payment system in Switzerland involves obtaining a payment service provider license issuing by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA), that regulates payment service providers. It is worth noting, however, that obtaining a payment system license in Switzerland is possible with some reservations, or rather, to some extent, due to the peculiarities of Swiss law. Nevertheless, solutions exist, and we will talk about them in this article.

Obtaining a PI license in Switzerland

A license for electronic payment services in Switzerland is required by the Financial Market Infrastructure Act. FINMA, in the course of its work with applications, evaluates the applicant's sustainability on the basis of his means and experience in this field.

The main obstacle for registering a payment system in Switzerland is the Swiss Banking Act, which applies to banks, and defines them as individuals who accept deposits from the public on a professional basis. Here, “deposits” are understood as liabilities to customers, unless the exceptions to paragraph 3 of Article 5, BO apply to the organization.

Exceptions can be described as follows:
  • The client uses the funds stored on his account only for the purchase of any goods or services;
  • The amount of funds stored in the user's account does not exceed 3000 CHF;
  • The user is not interested (there are no incentives) in storing large amounts of funds in his account.

Compliance with the above conditions leads to the fact that the receipt of funds from people will not be perceived as the acceptance of "deposits", and the company will be able to carry out its traditional activity, providing electronic payment services in Switzerland.

It is also necessary to know that the balance in the user's account should not remain unchanged for more than 60 days.

Applying to the FINMA for a PI License

An application for obtaining a PSP license in Switzerland is filed with FINMA. The applicant is required to comply with the Banking Act, the Anti-Money Laundering Act, the Consumer Credit Act, and the National Banking Act. In addition, the applicant may be required to comply with other rules or guidelines issued by the competent authorities.

Conditions for obtaining a license for electronic payment services

Among other things, we can distinguish the following documents required for obtaining a PI license:

  • The AOA;
  • A detailed business plan for 3 years;
  • Information about the corporate structure;
  • Description of measures to identify and manage possible risks;
  • Description of measures to combat money laundering and financing illegal activities;
  • Description of methods for resolving financial disputes in Switzerland.

It will also be necessary to open a corporate account in a Swiss bank, and register a physical office in Switzerland, from where the management and most of the business operations will be conducted, and equip it properly for the described activity.

Read also:
Obtaining a FinTech license in Switzerland

Since January 2019, it is possible to order a FinTech license in Switzerland. It is a very “simplified” version of a banking license, and may be of interest to enterprises planning to run a business by providing financial services in Switzerland. We have already written more about this license in our article.


All the above material is published for informative purposes, and cannot be construed as advice or a call for specific action.

Swiss law is notable for its complexity, therefore, at the stage of preparation for applying for FINMA, it is advisable to enlist the support of reliable lawyers who will help you throughout the process of obtaining a payment institution license in Switzerland.

Please, note that IQD Consulting experts are ready to offer:
  • Professional assistance in preparing an application for a Swiss PI license;
  • Professional support in formation a business plan for the payment system;
  • Assistance in collecting and preparing the necessary documentation;
  • Professional help in opening a corporate account in a Swiss bank, and provision of other related services.

If you have any questions regarding the obtaining a license for the provision of payment services in Switzerland, you can ask them by filling out the feedback form, or request for personal advice by calling us directly using the contacts listed below.

  • IQD Consulting shall not be liable for any direct, indirect or consequential loss arising from the use of the information and material contained in this website.
  • Please, consider contacting our experts for possible solutions for your business.
  • Still have questions? Please, fill out the form or contact us in whatever way you find best.

    Our experts will be happy to answer your questions.

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