The Act of 26 March 2018 regarding the legal status and supervision of credit institutions and electronic money institutions, access to the undertaking of payment service providers and to the activity of issuing electronic money, and access to payment systems (the "PSD2 Act") has partially implemented Directive 2015/2366 of 25 November 2015 ("PSD2") into Belgian law. The PSD2 Act introduces two new payment services and modifies access to the status of a payment institution.
The PSD2 Act has implemented the prudential aspects of PSD2 into Belgian law. The PSD2 provisions regarding consumer protection still need to be implemented (through an amendment to Book VII of the Economic Law Code). The PSD2 Act regulates the provision of payment services in Belgium and replaces the Belgian act of 21 December 2009 on the status of payment institutions, access to the activities of payment service providers and payment systems (the "PSD1 Act").
The PSD2 Act introduces two new payment services: payment initiation services and account information services.
A "payment initiation service" is "a service to initiate a payment order at the request of the payment service user to debit an account held by the payment service user with another payment service provider, and to credit a different account".
An "account information service" is "an online service to provide consolidated information on one or more payment accounts held by the payment service user with either another payment service provider or with more than one payment service provider".
Monopoly of payment service providers
In principle, payment service providers are the only undertakings allowed to provide payment services in Belgium. The payment service providers are:
- credit institutions;
- e-money institutions;
- the National Bank of Belgium and the European Central Bank;
- federal, regional, community and local Belgian authorities, when not acting as a public authority; and
- payment institutions.
The PSD2 Act regulates access to the status and conducting of the activities of a payment institution.
Payment institutions must be registered as licensed payment institutions or as registered payment institutions with the National Bank of Belgium.
Licensed payment institutions
The status of a licensed payment institution offers the possibility to provide all payments services, with the exception of account information services.
Access to the status of a licensed payment institution is subject to various requirements, including with respect to initial capital, own funds and organisation.
A payment institution licensed in Belgium may benefit from a "European passport" with a view to carrying out its activities in other EEA countries.
Registered payment institutions
There are two categories of registered payment institutions: limited payment institutions and account information service payment institutions ("AISPs").
Limited payment institution status offers the possibility to provide all payment services except for money transfer, payment initiation services and account information services.
The prudential requirements applicable to limited payment institutions are currently the same as those applicable to licensed payment institutions. A Royal Decree could, however, simplify the prudential status of limited payment institutions.
Unlike the status of a licensed payment institution, the status of a limited payment institution does not grant the possibility of benefitting from a "European passport".
AISP status exclusively offers the possibility to provide account information services.
The requirements for obtaining AISP status are identical to those applicable for obtaining licensed payment institution status, except for the requirements regarding the initial capital and the capital holders.
AISPs can benefit from a "European passport".