A Payment Solution Service Providers (PSSP) licence is a financial licence within the payments system which is issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). A PSSP licence authorizes the licensee to provide and operate payment processing gateway and portals, solution/application development, and merchant service aggregation and collections services. A PSSP license does not provide the authorization to hold customers’ funds or create and issue wallets. PSSPs are predominantly Financial Technology (FinTech) companies that enable and facilitate online and offline payments solutions which include collections, check-out, biller aggregation and payout services.
The CBN is the regulatory authority that issues PSSP licenses in Nigeria. The CBN also provides constant regulatory oversight over the activities of PSSP licensees in Nigeria.
Who can Apply for a PSSP Licence in Nigeria
Only a company that is duly registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in Nigeria and also meets the minimum share capital requirements and other regulatory requirements of the CBN can apply for a PSSP licence in Nigeria.
The Process of Obtaining a PSSP Licence from the CBN in Nigeria
A PSSP licence is processed in two stages viz:
- Approval-in-Principle (AIP): This is the preliminary stage of obtaining a PSSP license. During this stage, an application is to be made to the CBN for the grant of the license and they are expected to give an Approval-in-Principle or reject the application. Where an AIP is given, it is only valid for a period of six months. The AIP does not authorize the applicant to commence operation but only allows the applicant to take steps towards obtaining the final licence.
- Final Licence: The applicant is required to consolidate the AIP stage by taking steps to ensure its readiness for commencement of operation, notifying the CBN of its readiness to commence operation, by paying and applying for final licence. Upon the grant of the final licence, the applicant can commence its operations.
The process of obtaining a PSSP licence from the AIP stage to the final licence stage involves the following:
- Write an application letter for a PSSP license which is addressed to the Director, Payments Systems Management Department of the CBN.
- The application letter is accompanied with the required documents which include:
- Certificate of incorporation of the company with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), with a share capital of N100,000,000 (One Hundred Million Naira)
- Memorandum and Articles of Association of the company
- Form CAC 2A (Return of Allotment of shares)
- Form CAC 7A (Particulars of Directors)
- Tax Clearance Certificate (TCC) and Tax Identification Number (TIN) of the Company
- Company’s profile
- Details of ownership
- Board structure
- Business plan
- Information Technology policy
- Dispute resolution framework
- Necessary certifications such as Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCIDSS), Payment Terminal Service Aggregator (PTSA), etc.
- Evidence of payment of the non-refundable application fee of N100,000 (One Hundred Thousand Naira).
- Evidence of the deposit of the refundable minimum capital of N100,000,000 (One Hundred Million Naira). This is required to be made in full (one lump sum) and in the name of the applicant.
3. The CBN assesses the application for the PSSP licence and the accompanying documents and if it is satisfied with the application, it proceeds to grant an Approval-in-Principle.
4. Upon obtaining AIP from the CBN, the applicant then makes payment of the licence fee of N1,000,000 (One Million Naira) to the CBN designated account and proceeds to apply for a final licence within six months of obtaining AIP.
5. The CBN inspects the registered place of business of the applicant company and its readiness to commence operation and proceeds to issue the final licence if it is satisfied with the outcome of its inspection.
Validity and Renewal of PSSP Licence
PSSP licence validity period is as determined by the CBN and renewable if the operations of the PSSP licensee is satisfactory to the CBN. Recently, CBN renewed Cellulant’s PSSP licence and this shows the satisfaction of the CBN with the services of the company in providing payment solutions in Nigeria. Thus, the renewal of a PSSP licence by the CBN is a vote of confidence on the operation of a PSSP licensee.
A Payment Solution Service Providers (PSSP) licence is an important licence within the Nigerian payment systems which enables the provision of financial services such as the operation of payment processing gateway and portals which is utilized by merchants to accept debit or credit card purchases from customers. A PSSP licensee provides both online and offline payment solutions. A PSSP licence is obtainable from the CBN by submitting an application to the CBN and paying the required application and license fees within the stipulated timelines.
Please note that the contents of this article are for general guidance on the Subject Matter. It is NOT legal advice.
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