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Payment services in Portugal

Mafalda Monteiro

The Portuguese legal framework on payment services and payment institutions' licensing requirements was approved by way of Decree-Law No. 317/2009, on October 30 2009, which transposed into Portuguese law Directive No. 2007/64/CE, of the European Parliament and of the Council on November 13 2007, on payment services in the internal market.

This Decree-Law came into force on November 1 2009, but established a six-month period for the existing payment services providers to adapt the current contracts to the new legal framework. This period expired on May 1 2010 and marked the beginning of a new era in the integration of the European banking and financial market.

The primary innovation brought by Decree-Law No. 317/2009 is the creation of a new category of financial institution which can, on an exclusive basis, legitimately provide payment services. This new category of payment service providers is subject to a licensing and registration procedure with the Portuguese Central Bank (BdP).

In keeping with what is already occurring with other financial institutions' activity, payment institutions are entitled to passport their activities provided that such services are covered by the authorisation granted in their home member state and BdP is duly notified.

The waiver provided for in Article 26 of Directive No. 2000/46/EC has not been included in the Portuguese regulations. This means that the incorporation of payment institutions in Portugal is subject to full compliance with the conditions set out in Sections 1 through 3 of Chapter 1 of Title II of the Directive.

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