The Electronic Money Directive (Directive 2009/110/EC) on the taking up, pursuit and prudential supervision of the business of electronic money institutions has been implemented in Ireland by means of the European Communities (Electronic Money) Regulations 2011(SI No. 183 of 2011), which were published today.

The Regulations come into effect on Saturday 30 April 2011 but the Regulations provide for transitional arrangements for persons who have issued electronic money before 30 April 2011 to enable them to continue to do so for a limited time while they take steps to comply with the Regulations. The Central Bank of Ireland (the Central Bank) is designated under the Regulations as being the competent authority for the purposes of the Directive.

The purpose of the Directive is described as being "to promote the emergence of a single market for electronic money services in the European Union that is innovative and secure while ensuring there is competition between players on the market and that it is accessible to new entrants".

Electronic Money Institutions must obtain authorisation from the Central Bank in order to issue electronic money. Certain categories of electronic money issuers such as banks, building societies, credit unions, certain public authorities and central banks are permitted to issue electronic money and must comply with certain provisions of the Directive but are not required to seek authorisation.

The Regulations set out the requirements that relate to the authorisation of electronic money institutions and registration of small electronic money institutions, the conditions of the authorisation including the capital requirements, initial capital, and safeguarding requirements for electronic money holders' funds and payment services users' funds etc.

Under the Regulations, anyone who provides electronic money services after 30 April 2011 may be guilty of an offence unless they are permitted to do so by the Central Bank, or if they provide false or misleading information, obstruct an authorised officer, misappropriate users' funds or fail to keep appropriate records in relation to the provision of electronic money services.

Click here to see the PDF "European Communities (Electronic Money) Regulations 2011 (SI No. 183 of 2011)"