Swiss authorities are closely monitoring the rapidly-developing FinTech services market and responding promptly to innovations. The legislative framework for regulating the operations of providers, e-money issuers and payment systems, which are required to obtain a license from the country's supervisory authority (FINMA), is regularly updated. A permit is required for FinTech banks, cryptocurrency exchanges and most other organisations operating in the new field.
The Swiss authorities have introduced into the controlled and taxable legal field almost all representatives of the FINTECH direction. The Swiss payment system license is issued, among other things, for operations with non-fiat funds issued by the organisation itself or purchased on crypto-exchanges. You can operate using electronic money — FINMA treats it as a monetary value registered and stored in non-physical form on chip cards, in software, etc.
If Swiss companies interact with clients' money directly, this is treated as banking activity for which an appropriate license is required. Despite the fact that the authorities do not officially recognise e-money as legal instruments of payment, its acceptance and storage is considered as acceptance of deposits. Therefore, according to the country's regulator, such activities are subject to a banking license. The exception is operations involving client balances, the amount of which does not exceed 3000 Swiss francs, or the use of funds only for payment of goods, without transfer to users.
A payment system license in Switzerland is not required if the activity cannot be classified as commercial acceptance of deposits. This is possible where:
The country's “full” banking licenses are expensive and difficult to obtain. However, entrepreneurs and startups have a way out. Companies that accept funds in the form of deposits of up to 100 million Swiss francs can obtain a special light permit. For such systems, a start-up capital of 300,000 Swiss francs is sufficient, which significantly lowers the “entry threshold”.
Platforms for virtual funds, including opening accounts and wallets for clients and engaged in electronic transfers are required to comply with the AML and KYC requirements — their compliance is primarily monitored by the relevant authorities. Therefore, to obtain a payment system license in Switzerland, service providers must prepare appropriate policies and:
Prifinance will guide you through all legal procedures within the shortest time possible. Our experts will study your business thoroughly, following which they will develop an optimal organisational scheme and tax model for it. They will do everything to make the payment system start operating legally and effectively.