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UAE introduces licensing regime for payment service providers

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UAEs Central Bank

The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates (CBUAE) has continued efforts to prepare the country for digital payments with a regulation licensing retail payment services.

The RPSCS regulation sets out the rules and conditions established by the CBUAE for acquiring and maintaining a licence for the provision of retail payment services and operating a card scheme. It came into force on 15 July 2021, with a one-year transitional period given to existing payment service providers and card schemes to obtain the relevant licences.

The RPSCS regulation specifies that no entity can provide or promote any retail payment service listed in the regulation without a CBUAE licence, unless it is an exempted person. Exempted persons are primarily CBUAE-licensed banks, but they still have to notify the CBUAE if they intend to carry out retail payment services.

The regulation licenses nine categories of digital payment services in the UAE: payment account issuance services, payment instrument issuance services, merchant acquiring services; payment aggregation services, domestic fund transfer services, and cross-border fund transfer services.

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