London-based payments group Voice Commerce has become one of the first fully authorized Payment Institutions under the EU's new Payment Services Directive (PSD).
Voice Commerce received this designation from Britain's Financial Services Authority. With the introduction of the PSD, nonbank organizations can apply to the FSA to be authorized as a Payment Institution, a new category of Payment Service Provider (PSP) and can start offering payment services to merchants and consumers, a role which was previously exclusive to banks.
The license means Voice Commerce will be regulated in exactly the same way as banks in relation to their capital adequacy and regulatory responsibilities for payment services, and can begin processing payment transactions across Europe on an equal footing. The license also means Voice Commerce can apply for Visa and MasterCard card scheme membership to start providing its own branded payment services including issuing cards to businesses and consumers and acquiring payment transactions.
The PSD came into force on Nov. 1 across 31 countries of the EU. It provides the legal framework for the single European Payment Area (SEPA) and will regulate most payment transactions. Its enforcement creates a new regulatory regime around institutions dealing with payment transactions and introduces the role of a Payment Institution and sets out what they can and cannot do.