The Regulation Amending the Regulation on Payment Services and Electronic Money Issuance and Payment Service Providers (the “Amending Regulation“), which was prepared by the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (the “CBRT“) and contains significant amendments to the Regulation on Payment Services and Electronic Money Issuance and Payment Service Providers (the “Regulation“), was published in the Official Gazette on October 7, 2023.
You can access our legal alert dated October 10, 2023 on digital wallet regulations in the Amending Regulation here.
What Does the Amending Regulation Bring?
1.Payment services, payment services providers and e-money issuers
Services that are not “payment order initiation services”
In fund transfers, the fact that the account containing the fund and the account to be transferred are in the same payment service provider will not be considered as a payment order initiation service. For a payment transaction to be considered as a payment order initiation service, the party initiating the payment transaction must also use a payment service provider other than the payment service provider where the party has its own account.
Payment transactions made through the custody of a payment instrument issued by another payment service provider for the sole purpose of loading funds into the payment account with the payment service provider offering the service and the payment instrument issued by that payment service provider will also not be considered as payment order initiation services.
Payment service providers will be able to perform the following operations as well:
a. Value-added services for legal entities and qualified services for natural persons: Qualified services are defined as services that do not fall within the scope of payment services but facilitate, secure or increase the effectiveness of payment services offered by supporting the financial situation and financial awareness of real persons, such as individual budget. management, invoice management, account verification and reminders regarding payments.
b. Services to be offered as an interface provider.
c. Ancillary services that may increase the use of the service provider’s payment services such as marketing and directing the client to the systems of the relevant financial institution in order to access the services of financial institutions whose activities are regulated and supervised by a competent authority within the framework of the relevant legislation.
d. Services within the scope of intermediation in activities related to the purchase and sale of processed precious metals and precious stones.
The Amending Regulation makes it possible for electronic money institutions to perform these additional activities for payment institutions.
2.Card-based payment instruments
If the payment service provider issuing the payment instrument issues the payment instrument in compliance with more than one card system institution and the client requests the issuance of the payment instrument defined to a specific card system institution, the payment service provider will issue the payment instrument in compliance with the client’s request and will not apply different practices according to the card system institution in a way that would make the issuance of the payment instrument with the card system institution chosen by the client difficult for the client.
Payment service providers that accept card-based payment instruments will be obliged to ensure that the devices, hardware and software used in acceptance activities are compatible with the card systems established by systemically important payment system operators authorized to carry out card system establishment activities and that payment instruments issued in compliance with these infrastructures can be used at the merchants they serve.
Merchants will also be obliged to provide the necessary support to the work carried out by the payment service provider. The CBRT may ask a merchant that fails to do so, without providing a reasonable justification, to cease the payment infrastructure services it provides. These obligations of payment service providers will commence on March 31, 2024.
Deadlines have been set for the completion of missing application documents.
The deficiencies in the information and documents at the application stage of the activity permit must be completed within three months, and the missing documents within the scope of the application to extend the activity permit must be completed within six months. Otherwise, the application will be deemed incomplete, and the process will start again.
The deadlines start from the date of the notification to the institution by the CBRT.
Some additional obligations were introduced regarding the financial status of shareholders.
In addition to the shareholders themselves, the bankruptcy concordat certificate for the companies in which they own at least 33% of the shares and the Findeks credit rating document have been added to the application documents to be submitted to the CBRT when applying for an operating license.
The CBRT’s permission will not be required for share acquisitions and transfers between companies belonging to the same group that do not directly or indirectly cause any change in the shareholding of the institution’s ultimate shareholders. However, share transfers within this scope must be notified to the CBRT within ten business days after the institution learns about the transaction.
If the CBRT decides that the acquisition or transfer of shares in question prejudices the requirement that the institution has a transparent and open shareholding structure that does not hinder the CBRT’s supervision, the CBRT may request that the transaction be stopped, or that actions be taken to restore the previous situation, and may impose the sanctions stipulated in the legislation if the necessary actions are not taken within the specified periods.
If the CBRT identifies any deficiencies in the share transfer application and these deficiencies are not corrected within six months following the CBRT’s written notification, the share transfer application will be deemed not to have been filed with the CBRT.
5.Protection of payment funds
Pursuant to the Amending Regulation, payment funds and funds received in return for the issuance of electronic money cannot be used as collateral by the institution, and all kinds of administrative and judicial requests from payment service users regarding the rights and receivables of the institution will be fulfilled exclusively by the institution.
The Amending Regulation issued by the CBRT to comply with international standards and respond to sectoral needs is significant in terms of the new regulations on the functioning of payment institutions and electronic money institutions and the provision of payment services.