Payments play a vital role in our day to day lives.

Consumers and businesses make and receive millions of payments every day within the UK financial system. Understanding and operating within this complex and rapidly evolving space can be challenging, whatever the nature and scale of your business and wherever you sit in the payments chain.

Our payments team acts for clients from all parts of the payments ecosystem from banks, payment service providers and e-money issuers to merchants and merchant acquirers, and regulated and unregulated FinTechs of all kinds.

The breadth and depth of our practice in this rapidly evolving sector enables us to advise on the full spectrum of regulatory, transactional, and commercial issues affecting the payments industry today.

Payments expertise

  • AML / CTF / KYC requirements and the Wire Transfer Regulations
  • Blockchain and the use of distributed ledger technology in the payments system
  • Consumer and business terms and conditions for various payment, e-money and technology service providers
  • Digital wallets and the structure and regulation of fiat and cryptocurrency exchanges
  • ICOs, cryptocurrency and crowdfunding
  • Open Banking and the development of APIs
  • Other payments legislation (including the Payments Account Directive, the Cyber Security Directive) and transaction services
  • PSD2 (including strong customer authentication, conduct of business, incident reporting and other requirements)
  • Regulated and unregulated lending
  • The authorisation and ongoing regulation of e-money issuers, including requirements that relate to the issue, redemption and safeguarding of e-money
  • AML / CTF / KYC requirements and the Wire Transfer Regulations
  • Blockchain and the use of distributed ledger technology in the payments system
  • Consumer and business terms and conditions for various payment, e-money and technology service providers
  • Digital wallets and the structure and regulation of fiat and cryptocurrency exchanges
  • ICOs, cryptocurrency and crowdfunding
  • Open Banking and the development of APIs
  • Other payments legislation (including the Payments Account Directive, the Cyber Security Directive) and transaction services
  • PSD2 (including strong customer authentication, conduct of business, incident reporting and other requirements)
  • Regulated and unregulated lending
  • The authorisation and ongoing regulation of e-money issuers, including requirements that relate to the issue, redemption and safeguarding of e-money

Payments experience

  • Advised an international payment, identity, e-money and banking solutions service provider on various UK and EEA regulatory issues, as well as VISA, MasterCard and other card scheme rules.

  • Drafted complex B2C and B2B payment services agreements for various clients, including for entities providing white label payment services and for deposit aggregation platforms.

  • Provided UK and EEA regulatory advice on a high profile acquisition (EUR 35,000,000) of an EEA credit institution by a large South American payment service provider in order that it may provide various services (including merchant acquiring, issuer processing, card processing, instant and delayed settlement and consumer and SME credit services) in the EEA market.

  • Prepared and / or advised on various FCA applications for authorisation of electronic money issuers or payment institutions and provided ongoing payments regulatory advice to the same (including advising on the basis for authorisation, safeguarding, required and breach of regulatory capital, reports and notifications to the FCA, and on T&Cs and other agreements).

  • Advised numerous EEA and international banks and payment services providers on the implementation of the second Payment Services Directive, including ongoing advice on strong customer authentication. Advised unregulated online merchants on the same (including providing detailed advice to clients in the travel and hospitality industry on one-time passcodes, surcharging, and chargebacks).

  • Advised a cryptocurrency exchange on a corporate restructure to de-risk the businesses, the issuance of electronic money, the preparation and submission of two FCA applications and subsequent communications with the FCA; and anti-money laundering issues.

  • Advised Allianz X, the digital investment unit of the Allianz group, on various investments including its Series B investment in SafeBoda, a major African ride hailing platform that also offers various on-demand consumer and payment services.

  • Advised a multinational ecommerce corporation and online marketplace on the commercial and regulatory consequences of a group restructure, and providing ongoing payments regulatory and other advice.

  • Advised award-winning, ‘API Only’ technology provider Yapily Ltd on its latest funding round, co-led by LocalGlobe and HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, following which the London based fintech start-up has raised a total of $5.4 million in seed funding.

Payments FAQs

We can, if there’s something especially novel about it; it’s unusually complex; or there’s a reason to think it might be rejected. If there isn’t, you probably don’t need a law firm, but you might need a compliance consultant.

If the compliance consultants need legal advice about something, we certainly help with that.

We can also help if the regulators ask you to get legal advice about an issue, before sharing this advice with them. For example, the regulators sometimes ask applicants (a) to get legal advice, which explains why they need to be authorised and regulated, and which particular regulated activities they need to be authorised for; and/or (b) to get a legal opinion, which confirms the regulatory capital status of their shares, and any other financial instruments they might have issued. Advice like that is right up our street.

If you need to know what a particular PRA or FCA rule means; or whether particular arrangements are rule compliant, we can help. If you need help working out how best to respond to questions from the regulators, we can help with that too. We can’t help with routine compliance activities, compliance monitoring, compliance auditing or the detailed design of new systems and controls. We may, however, be able to introduce you to a compliance consultant who can.

We can, but you might not need us.

We usually advise on regulated consumer credit issues, if (for example):

  • A client is designing a new product, and it needs to know whether there will be regulated consumer credit (or not). If there will be regulated consumer credit, we can sometimes structure the product, to get a different result.
  • A client is investing in, or buying, another business and the client needs to understand whether the target is properly authorised, and complying with its legal and regulatory obligations. All too often, we find it’s not, and we’re asked to advise on the risks and consequences of the non-compliance for the target and the acquirer, and the steps that need to be taken to sort things out;
  • A client and its business partners are entering into new commercial arrangements which depend on, or include, primary or secondary credit broking; or primary or secondary regulated lending, and want to make sure the new arrangements are lawful, and consistent with their regulatory permissions.

We draft regulated and non-regulated lending agreements; and our colleagues enforce their terms.

Our financial services regulatory team doesn’t advise borrowers, and it doesn’t give routine advice on (for example) the variation or early termination of regulated credit agreements, or the promotion and sale of regulated lending products.

"The firm has excellent partners and associates, all of whom provide a great service."


Chambers UK, 2021

"The Fox Williams team has strength and depth acting for executives and other individuals is some of the most complex regulatory cases in the field."


Legal 500 2021

"Excellent knowledge of the insurance regulatory requirements and very quick to respond."


Legal 500 2021

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