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Authorisation

Institutional Framework-Authorisation

In order for a leasing company to be established, it must obtain authorisation from the Bank of Greece, which is responsible for the supervision and audit of such companies.

The conditions of authorisation of leasing companies in Greece and the rules for the supervision of these companies by the Bank of Greece are laid down in Law 1665/1986 and in Bank of Greece Governor’s Act 2622/21.12.2009.

The minimum initial capital required for the establishment of a leasing company amounts to half (1/2) of the minimum initial capital required for the establishment of a credit institution.

Institutional Framework-Authorisation

In order for a factoring company to be established, it must obtain authorisation from the Bank of Greece, which is responsible for the supervision and audit of such companies.

The conditions of authorisation of factoring companies  in Greece and the rules for the supervision of these companies by the Bank of Greece are set out in Law 1905/1990 and Bank of Greece Governor’s Act 2622/21.12.2009.

The minimum initial capital required for the establishment of a factoring company amounts to a quarter (1/4) of the minimum initial capital required for the establishment of a credit institution.

Category-Activity

Electronic money institutions issue electronic money;

Electronic money institutions issue electronic money; in addition, they may engage in the provision of one or more of the payment services listed in Article 4, point 3 of Law 4537/2018 (see attached file), as well as of other ancillary and closely related services (according to Article 16 para. 1 of Law 4021/2011).

It should be noted that electronic money institutions are prohibited from accepting deposits of money or other repayable funds from the public, within the meaning of Article 9(1) and (3) of Law 4261/2014.

The issuance of electronic money does not constitute acceptance of deposits of money or other repayable funds. The provision of interest or other benefits related to the length of time that the electronic money holder holds electronic money is also forbidden.

Institutional Framework - Authorisation

According to Article 12, para. 1, of Law 4021/2011, the Bank of Greece is the authority responsible for the authorization and prudential supervision of electronic money institutions. Pursuant to this authorization, the Bank of Greece issued Executive Committee Act 33/19.12.2013.

According to Article 12, para. 1, of Law 4021/2011, the Bank of Greece is the authority responsible for the authorization and prudential supervision of electronic money institutions. Pursuant to this authorization, the Bank of Greece issued Executive Committee Act 33/19.12.2013.

In order to be granted authorization, prospective electronic money institutions are required to hold initial capital of not less than three hundred and fifty thousand euro (€350,000). Furthermore, the abovementioned law sets also out the capital requirements and the method of calculation of own funds requirements for electronic money institutions, and specifies the safeguarding requirements for funds received, the exempted institutions and the activities in which electronic money institutions may engage in addition to issuing electronic money, either in Greece or on a cross-border basis.

Undertakings that apply for an authorization to provide payment initiation services (para. 3(g), Article 4 of Law 4537/2018) are entitled to hold a professional indemnity insurance covering the Greek territory and the territories of the Member States in which they offer services, or some other comparable guarantee against liability to ensure that they can cover their liabilities as specified in Articles 73, 89 and 91 of PSDII (Article 5, para. 4 of Law 4537/2018).

Undertakings that apply for an authorization to provide account information services (para. 3(h), Article 4 of Law 4537/2018) are entitled, as a condition of registration, to hold a professional indemnity insurance covering the Greek territory and the territories of the Member States in which they offer payment services, or some other comparable guarantee against their liability vis-à-vis the payment service provider resulting from non-authorized or fraudulent use of account information (Article 5, para. 5 of Law 4537/2018).

The Bank of Greece decides on the content of the application for authorization, the supporting documents and documents necessary for this purpose, the specific requirements and the procedure for authorization, as well as any other relevant matter (Article 5 (6) of the Law). 4537/2018).

Law 4201/2011 (Articles 9-30) transposed into Greek legislation the provisions of Directive 2009/110/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 September 2009 on the taking up, pursuit and prudential supervision of the business of electronic money institutions, amending Directives 2005/60/EC and 2006/48/EC and repealing Directive 2000/46/EC. The above law was amended by Article 107 of Law 4537/2018 (“Transposition into Greek legislation of Directive 2015/2366/EU on payment services and other provisions”, “PSDII”) which transposed into Greek legislation the provisions of Directive 2015/2366/EU (OJ L337/23.12.2015).

The authorization requirements and the supervisory rules for electronic money institutions are laid down in:

  • Law 4537/2018 (PSDII)
  • Law 4021/2011 (Articles 9-30)
  • Bank of Greece Executive Committee Act 33/19.12.2013
  • Bank of Greece Executive Committee Act 142/11.6.2018.

Issues related to informing the electronic money holders of the electronic money holders of their rights, as well as the review of complaints from electronic money holders do not fall within the scope of authority of the Bank of Greece, but of the General Secretariat for Consumers of the Ministry of Development and Investment (Article 97, Law 4537/2018).

The public register of the Bank of Greece, compiled pursuant to Article 14 of Law 4537/2018, will list the exempted electronic money institutions, the payment services they provide, the current status of the authorization granted to them ( valid or revoked), the date the e-money registrant was entered in the register, and the date the e-money exemption was deleted from the register.

The Bank of Greece also maintains a public register of electronic money institutions in EEA Member States that provide services in Greece, with the distinction of whether they are provided on the basis of the discretion to provide services or whether they are provided through a branch or agent established in Greece.

Regulatory framework - Authorisation

The euro retail payments market is developing and offers innovative payment solutions.

The euro retail payments market is developing and offers innovative payment solutions.

This is expected to further accelerate in the coming years, due to the technological, social and economic changes associated with digitalisation, and due to the fact that the EU regulatory framework allows non-standard service providers to enter the retail payment market.

Law 4537/2018, which transposed the 2nd payments Directive (2015/2366/EU or PSDII), introduced the following payment services (with a focus on web payments).

Payment initiation service providers (PISPs)

Category-Activity

The provision of payment initiation services, according to PSDII (Law 4537/2018), requiring authorisation from the supervising authority, is based on the access of authorised payment initiation service providers to the payer’s account, and for this access the providers need to have the customer's official consent. 

Category-Activity

The provision of payment initiation services, according to PSDII (Law 4537/2018), requiring authorisation from the supervising authority, is based on the access of authorised payment initiation service providers to the payer’s account, and for this access the providers need to have the customer's official consent. Payment initiation services allow customers to execute payments for the purchase of goods or services directly through their bank accounts by credit transfer, thus replacing other means of payment such as debit and credit cards.

Regulatory framework - Authorisation

The Bank of Greece is the authority responsible for the authorisation and prudential supervision of payment initiation services providers (Law 4537/2018, Article 23, para. 1, which transposed the provisions of Directive 2015/2366/EU (PSDII)). 

As regards the authorisation conditions, applicants for authorisation to provide this service exclusively (Article 4, para. 3(g) of Law 4537/2018) are treated as payment institutions. The Bank of Greece decides on the content of the application for authorisation, the supporting documents and data necessary for this purpose, the specific requirements and the procedure for authorisation, as well as any other relevant matter (Article 5 (6) of the Law 4537/2018).

The principle of proportionality applies in this case since the exclusive provision of service (g) (Article 4, para. 3 of Law 4537/2018) entails that the provider does not at any stage of the payment chain hold the user’s funds. 

Applicants that intend to provide additional payment services (Article 4, para. 3(a)-(f) of Law 4537/2018) or electronic money services (Article 10, para. 3 of Law 4021/2011) must apply for the relevant full authorisation from the Bank of Greece regarding these services.

Applicants authorised to provide payment initiation services (para. 3(g), Article 4 of Law 4537/2018) are entitled to hold a professional indemnity insurance covering the Greek territory and the territories of the Member States in which they offer services, or some other comparable guarantee against liability to ensure that they can cover their liabilities as specified in Articles 73, 89, and 91 of PSDII (Article 5, para. 4 of Law 4537/2018).

The authorisation requirements and the supervisory rules for payment initiation service providers are laid down in:

  • Law 4537/2018  (PSDII)
  • Law 4021/2011 (Articles 9-30)
  • Governor’s Act 2628/30.9.2010
  • Bank of Greece Executive Committee 33/19.12.2013
  • Governor’s Act 2651/201.1.2012
  • Bank of Greece Executive Committee Act 142/11.6.2018.

It should be noted that, pursuant to Law 4537/2018, the General Secretariat for Consumers of the Ministry of Development and Investment is the authority responsible for ensuring compliance with transparency requirements.

Account Information Service Providers (AISPs)

Category-Activity

Account Information Service Providers, according to PSDII (Law 4537/2018), offer a direct online connection to provide the customer with an overall view of his/her account balances (as well as the history of his/her transactions) maintained in one or more banks, payment institutions and electronic money institutions (i.e. payment service providers).

Category-Activity

Account Information Service Providers, according to PSDII (Law 4537/2018), offer a direct online connection to provide the customer with an overall view of his/her account balances (as well as the history of his/her transactions) maintained in one or more banks, payment institutions and electronic money institutions (i.e. payment service providers). The provider needs the official consent of the customer to provide this service. Further, the licensed Account Information Service Providers are posted in the relevant Registry of the Bank of Greece.

 Regulatory framework - Authorisation

The Bank of Greece is the authority responsible for the authorisation and prudential supervision of account information service providers (Law 4537/2018, Article 23, para. 1, which transposed the provisions of Directive 2015/2366/EU (PSDII)).

The authorisation requirements and the supervisory rules for account information services providers are laid down in:

  • Law 4537/2018  (PSDII)
  • Law 4021/2011 (art. 9-30)
  • Governor’s Act 2628/30.9.2010
  • Bank of Greece Executive Committee 33/19.12.2013
  • Governor’s Act 2651/201.1.2012
  • Bank of Greece Executive Committee Act 142/11.6.2018

Applicants  that apply for authorisation to provide this service exclusively (Article 4, para. 3(h) of Law 4537/2018) must comply with the provisions of Article 5 of Law 4537/2018. The Bank of Greece decides on the content of the application for authorisation, the supporting documents and data necessary for this purpose, the specific requirements and the procedure for authorisation, as well as any other relevant matter (Article 5 (6) of the Law 4537/2018).

The principle of proportionality applies in this case since the exclusive provision of service (h) (Article 4, para. 3 of Law 4537/2018) entails that the provider does not at any phase of the payment process hold the user’s funds. 

Applicants that intend to provide additional payment services (Article 4, para. 3(a)-(f) of Law 4537/2018) or electronic money services (Article 10, para. 3 of Law 4021/2011) must apply for the relevant full authorisation to the Bank of Greece.

Applicants authorised to provide account information services (para. 3(h), Article 4 of Law 4537/2018) are entitled to hold a professional indemnity insurance covering the Greek territory and the territories of the Member States in which they offer payment services, or some other comparable guarantee against liability to ensure that they can cover their liability vis-à-vis the payment service provider resulting from non-authorised or fraudulent use of account information (Article 5, para. 5 of Law 4537/2018).

It should be noted that, pursuant to Law 4537/2018, the General Secretariat for Consumers of the Ministry of Development and Investment is the authority responsible for ensuring compliance with transparency requirements. 

Card-based Payment Instrument Issuers (CBPII)

Category - Activity

PSD-II (Law 4537/2018) allows authorised payment services providers, with the consent of their customers, to issue payment instruments (e.g. cards) and execute transactions using these instruments, and to connect them to their customers’ accounts that are held with other institutions and/or with credit institutions.

Category - Activity

PSD-II (Law 4537/2018) allows authorised payment services providers, with the consent of their customers, to issue payment instruments (e.g. cards) and execute transactions using these instruments, and to connect them to their customers’ accounts that are held with other institutions and/or with credit institutions. These accounts are accessible via online interfaces of the account servicing payment service provider with the official consent of the customer.

Regulatory framework - Authorisation

The Bank of Greece is the authority responsible for the authorisation and the prudential supervision of:

  • payment institutions under Law 4537/2018, Article 23, para. 1, which transposed the provisions of Directive 2015/2366/EU (PSDII)
  • electronic money institutions (Law 4021/2011, Article 12, para. 1). In this capacity, the Bank of Greece issued Executive Committee Act 33/19.12.2013.

For their authorisation, the process required for payment Institutions is followed, as long as no electronic money issue, distribution and redemption services are provided. 

When such services are provided, then the authorisation process for electronic money Institutions is followed.  

Card-based payment instrument issuer service providers (CISP) actually provide service (e) of Article 4, para. 3 of Law 4537.

Category-Activity

Payment Institutions: The legal entity licensed by the BoG (article 11, Law 4537/2018) to provide and perform payment services in all Member States.

Payment Institutions: The legal entity licensed by the BoG (article 11, Law 4537/2018) to provide and perform payment services in all Member States. Payment services are defined in article 4, paragraph 3 of Law 4537/2018 and include but not limited to money remittance, issuing of payment instruments, payment initiation services, etc.

Institutional Framework-Authorization

The Bank of Greece is responsible for the authorization and prudential supervision of payment institutions, pursuant to article 23 par. 1 of Law 4537/2018.

The Bank of Greece is responsible for the authorization and prudential supervision of payment institutions, pursuant to article 23 par. 1 of Law 4537/2018.

This law transposed to Greek legislation the provisions of Directive (EU) 2015/2366 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2015 on payment services in the internal market, amending Directives 2002/65/EC, 2009/110/EC and 2013/36/EU and Regulation (EU) No 1093/2010, and repealing Directive 2007/64/EC.

The authorization requirements and the supervisory rules for payment institutions are laid down in:

  • Law 4537/2018 (PSDII) 
  • Bank of Greece Governor’s Act 2628/30.9.2010
  • Bank of Greece Executive Committee Act 33/19.12.2013
  • Bank of Greece Executive Committee Act 142/11.6.2018.

Pursuant to the Law 4537/2018, Bank of Greece has issued Governor’s Act 2628/30.9.2010 which regulates the following:

  • the initial capital of payment institutions;
  • the calculation method and the minimum amount of own funds required by payment institutions;
  • the establishment of additional capital requirements for payment institutions providing credit equal to 10% of the outstanding amount of credit;
  • the documentation required for the fit and proper assessment of the persons referred to in para. 1(m) and (n) of Article 5 of Law 4537/2010 (members of the management body and persons that hold, directly or indirectly, qualifying holdings in payment institutions) as well as of the agents of payment institutions;
  • the procedure for maintaining and updating the register of payment institutions authorized in Greece, their branches and agents operating in Greece and in other Member States of the EEA, as well as the data to be entered in this register; and
  • the regulatory standards underpinning the operation of payment institutions, the data and information to be reported periodically to the Bank of Greece in this context and the reporting frequency.

Undertakings that apply for an authorization to provide payment initiation services (para. 3(g) of Article 4 of Law 4537/2018) are entitled to hold a professional indemnity insurance, covering the Greek territory and the territories of the Member States in which they offer services, or some other comparable guarantee against liability to ensure that they can cover their liabilities as specified in Articles 73, 89, and 91 of PSDII (Article 5, para. 4 of Law 4537/2018).

Undertakings that apply for an authorization to provide account information services (para. 3(h), Article 4 of Law 4537/2018) are entitled, as a condition of authorization, to hold a professional indemnity insurance covering the Greek territory and the territories of the Member States in which they offer payment services, or some other comparable guarantee against their liability vis-à-vis the payment service provider resulting from non-authorized or fraudulent use of account information (Article 5, para. 5 of Law 4537/2018).

The Bank of Greece decides on the content of the application for authorization, the supporting documents and documents necessary for this purpose, the specific requirements and the procedure for authorization, as well as any other relevant matter (Article 5 (6) of the Law). 4537/2018).

The Bank's public register, compiled under Article 14 of Law 4537/2018, records the excluded payment institutions, the payment services they provide, the current situation in relation to the authorization granted to them (valid or revoked), date of registration of the excluded payment institution in the register, and date of deletion of the excluded payment institution from the register. The public register compiled by the Bank of Greece also lists (based on the Article 34) the account information service providers based in Greece, their representatives in other Member States, as well as their branches providing services in another Member State.

Payment Institution based in another Member State

A payment institution authorized in another Member State can provide payment services in Greece for the first time

A payment institution authorized in another Member State can provide payment services in Greece for the first time, either under the freedom of establishment or the freedom to provide services, provided that these payment services are covered by the institution's authorization in the home Member State and that the competent authorities of the home Member State notify to the Bank of Greece the information referred to in para. 1 of Article 28 of the Directive 2015/2366/EU.

It should be noted that, pursuant to Law 4537/2018, the General Secretariat for Consumers of the Ministry of Development and Investment is the authority responsible for ensuring compliance with transparency requirements.

Institutional Framework- Authorisation

In order for a credit company to be established, it must obtain authorisation from the Bank of Greece, which is responsible for the supervision and audit of such companies.

The conditions of authorisation of credit companies in Greece and the rules for the supervision of these companies by the Bank of Greece are defined in Law 4261/2014 and Bank of Greece Governor’s Act 2622/21.12.2009.

The minimum initial capital required for the establishment of a credit provision company amounts to one half (1/2) of the minimum initial capital required for the establishment of a credit institution.

Institutional framework-Authorisation

The framework on the establishment and operation of credit servicing firms, under the provisions of Law 4354/2015, as currently in force, is specified in Bank of Greece Executive Committee Act 118/19.05.2017 (Government Gazette B 1764/22.5.2017) "Framework of establishment and operation of credit servicing firms (Law 4354/2015) - Replacement of Executive Committee Act 95/27.5.2016".

The framework contains different provisions for companies that intend only to engage in  credit servicing and for those that they intend to also engage in loan refinancing.

Executive Committee Act 118/19.05.2017 includes the procedure and the data and documentation required for authorisation, as well as the supervisory framework applicable to the above companies as appropriate.

Category-Activity

Bureaux de Change sell and buy foreign currency.

Bureaux de Change sell and buy foreign currency. They can only engage in specific operations, such as buying and selling foreign banknotes and travellers’ cheques, promoting and intermediating in the provision of banking products and services (excluding any kind of commitment on behalf of credit institutions or the execution of collection or payment transactions on their behalf) according to the procedure described in Bank of Greece Governor’s Act 2600/28.11. 2007.

As long as they have been appointed agents of payment institutions, according to the procedure set out in Bank of Greece Governor’s Act 2628/30.9.2010, as amended by Chapter E of Executive Committee Act 33/2013, they can provide payment services under Law 4537/2018 after being specifically authorised by the Bank of Greece according to Bank of Greece Governor’s Act 2641/20.4.2011.

They must have the required management, organisational and technical infrastructure. Moreover, persons responsible for their management, the members of their Boards of Directors and major shareholders must be fit and proper to exercise sound and prudent management.

Regulatory framework–Authorisation

The Bank of Greece is the authority responsible for the authorisation and supervision of bureaux de change, according to Law 5422/1932, Article 2, para. 3 (a) and (b).

The Bank of Greece is the authority responsible for the authorisation and supervision of bureaux de change, according to Law 5422/1932, Article 2, para. 3 (a) and (b).

Bureaux de change may operate only as sociétés anonymes, subject to prior authorisation by the Bank of Greece.

Their minimum initial capital is €200,000.00. Throughout their operation, their own funds may not fall below the above mentioned minimum amount.

The institutional framework for the authorisation and supervision of bureaux de change by the Bank of Greece is contained in the provisions of Bank of Greece Governor's Act 2541/27.2.2004 “Codification of, and amendment to, Bank of Greece Governor's Act 2440/11.1.1999, “Establishment and operation of bureaux de change in Greece by sociétés anonymes other than credit institutions” (Government Gazette A 87), as currently in force. The terms and conditions for the authorisation of the establishment of bureaux de change in Greece by sociétés anonymes other than credit institutions are governed by the laws and acts found below.

Institutional Framework–Authorization

By Law 4537/2018, Directive 2015/2366 on payment services (Second Payments Directive, PSD2) was transposed into Greek legislation. Article 37(1) of that law states that “Natural or legal persons that are neither payment service providers nor explicitly excluded from the scope of this law are prohibited from providing payment services."

Article 3 (“Exclusions”) explicitly sets out the cases of payment services to which Law 4537/2018 does not apply. Providers of such excluded services are required to send a notification to the Bank of Greece containing a description of the services offered and specifying under which exclusion referred to in Article 3 the activity is considered to be carried out.

Article 37 lays down conditions and thresholds beyond which providers of excluded payment services are required to notify the Bank of Greece of the services offered and/or provide information to the Bank on an annual basis.

The Bank of Greece enters authorised providers of excluded services into its register of payment service providers and updates the respective register of the European Banking Authority.

Non-compliance with the aforementioned articles entails the sanctions provided for in Article 59(4) of Law 4261/2014, as well as in Article 24(7) of Law 4537/2018.

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