On January 10 2003 the Ministry of Economics and Finance approved Regulation 2002-13, which applies to electronic money and electronic money institutions. The regulation was issued on November 21 2002 by the Comité de la réglementation bancaire et financière, the authority charged with regulating banking activities in France.

Regulation 2002-13 implements the Electronic Money Institutions Directive (2000/46/EC). Its definition of 'electronic money' is equivalent to that of the directive, under which the term means:

"monetary value as represented by a claim on the issuer, which is stored on an electronic device, issued on receipt of funds of an amount not less in value than the monetary value issued and accepted as means of payment by undertakings other than the issuer." (Article 1 of the directive)

As a general rule, the main provisions of the directive are found in the regulation, in order to ensure the minimum harmonization required to secure the mutual recognition of authorization and prudential supervision of electronic money institutions in the European Union. Regulation 2002-03 thus reflects the directive's provisions:

  • defining the conditions under which electronic money may be redeemed;

  • specifying the minimum capital and own funds requirements imposed on electronic money institutions;

  • specifying the limitations to the investments which electronic money institutions may make; and

  • defining the nature of their activities.

Nevertheless, the regulation also includes specific provisions applicable to French electronic institutions. Most of them aim to prevent money laundering activities. For instance, the holder of an electronic 'purse' may use it solely for transactions with persons or undertakings which are contractually bound to the electronic money institutions which have issued the electronic money (Article 4).

Electronic devices which would preserve the holder's anonymity must not contain more than €150 in electronic money. Payments made with this kind of electronic device must not exceed more than €30 per transaction. For transactions above €30, electronic money institutions must register the identity of the person requesting the execution of the transaction and may disclose it to any other electronic money institution concerned or to the French banking authorities within two years (Article 5). Similarly, electronic money institutions must keep records of electronic money loading and cashing transactions for two years (Article 6). Finally, electronic money institutions must set up an internal supervision system which would automatically check unusual transactions (Article 8).

For further information on this topic please contact Philippe Portier or Raphaële Navelet-Noualhier at Jeantet & Associés by telephone (+33 1 45 05 81 96) or by fax (+33 1 47 04 87 98) or by email ([email protected] or [email protected]).