Google Payment receives e-money licence in Lithuania

Google Payment receives e-money licence in Lithuania
By bne IntelliNews January 7, 2019

Google Payment obtained an electronic money institution licence in Lithuania at the end of 2018. The licence, issued by the Bank of Lithuania to Google Payment Lithuania UAB, allows the company to issue and redeem electronic money as well as provide payment services, the Lithuanian central bank said in a statement on December 21. 

According to the bank, having secured the licence, Google Payment will be able to “issue electronic money and provide payment services to ensure smooth operation of its marketplaces across Europe, alongside working on other payment services for consumers within the European Economic Area, including Lithuania.”

Google Payment Lithuania UAB is owned by Alphabet Inc., which is tech giant Google’s parent company. Fellow international tech majors Amazon and Facebook have already obtained European e-money licences, Amazon in Luxembourg and Facebook in Ireland, according to Bloomberg. 

Lithuania has been seeking to position itself as a hub for the fast growing fintech sector. Developing an environment conducive to competition and innovation in the financial services field is one of the Bank of Lithuania’s strategic directions for 2017-2020, the bank said. 

A few days before Google Payment was granted its licence, the Bank of Lithuania also issued a European banking licence to London-based fintech company Revolut. The company, which started out offering a prepaid card service for foreign currency payments, will now be able to offer banking services such as current accounts, loans and overdrafts. 

“The end of this year reflects our efforts and experience of the past few years in actively developing a fintech-conducive ecosystem in Lithuania. Our regulatory environment and the benefits it offers have been acknowledged by both start ups and world-class fintech companies,” said Bank of Lithuania board member Marius Jurgilas in a statement. 

The Lithuanian fintech cluster now includes more than 100 licensed companies, most of which are engaged in activities related to payments, electronic money issuance, P2P lending and crowdfunding platforms, said the Bank of Lithuania.