How to Obtain an Electronic Money Institution (EMI) License in Malaysia

Who Are the Electronic Money Institutions (EMI)?

Electronic Money Institutions (EMIs) are entities pivotal to the modern financial ecosystem, specializing in digital transactions and electronic instruments. These instruments, including e-money, prepaid cards, and e-wallets, empower EMIs to offer innovative and efficient electronic payment services in Malaysia.

What are Electronic Instruments?

Electronic instruments encompass a spectrum of digital currencies that facilitate cashless transactions. EMIs leverage these instruments, such as e-money and prepaid cards, providing users with convenient and secure alternatives to traditional payment methods. E-wallets, whether through mobile apps or online portals, are integral components of these electronic instruments.

How are EMIs Classified in Malaysia?

In Malaysia, EMIs fall into three distinct categories:

  • Standard EMI: The default category upon approval under the Financial Services Act 2013 (FSA) or the Islamic Financial Services Act 2013 (IFSA). It applies when an EMI does not meet the criteria of an eligible EMI.
  • Limited Purpose EMI: A standard EMI meeting the criteria of limited purpose e-money. This category is not fully subjected to certain regulations, pending the issuance of an Exemption Order.

Eligible EMI: Reserved for EMIs with substantial market presence meeting specific criteria outlined in the E-Money PD. This category faces heightened regulatory expectations due to its significant role.

Activities Covered Under the EMI License

EMIs in Malaysia can offer a broad range of products and services. These activities collectively contribute to the dynamism and versatility of the digital payments landscape.

  • Issuing prepaid cards, whether physical, virtual, proprietary, or international.
    Providing e-wallet services through mobile apps or online portals.
  • Facilitating various purchase transactions, including physical merchant, online, and in-app transactions.
  • Enabling funds transfer, either peer-to-peer or to the user's bank account.
  • Offering withdrawal options, including cash, bank account, and other specified methods.
    Providing cross-border remittance services.

General Requirements for EMI License Application


An eligible EMI in Malaysia refers to an EMI that meets specific criteria demonstrating its market presence and influence. These criteria, effective from 2017 onward, include:

Active User Base:

The EMI must maintain at least 500,000 active users for a consecutive period of six (6) months, starting from 2017.

Market Share Criteria:

The EMI should have a market share of at least 5% of the total e-money transaction volume in Malaysia for a given year, beginning in 2017.

Alternatively, the EMI should have a market share of at least 5% of the total e-money transaction value in Malaysia for a given year, starting from 2017.

Another criterion is a market share of at least 5% of the total outstanding e-money liabilities in Malaysia for a given year, commencing in 2017.

The applicant can also apply for an exemption which the BNM will review. If the bank upon evaluation determines that the applicant is not eligible for that particular year, then it will issue a written notice for the same.

AML and Fraud Considerations

Stringent Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and fraud prevention measures are imperative:

  • Customer due diligence is conducted.
  • Fraud detection systems are implemented, enabling timely identification and mitigation of suspicious transactions.
  • Regular analysis of fraud trends and modus operandi is performed.
  • Reporting of fraud incidents to senior management and the board is mandatory.

Documentation Requirements

To initiate the application process for an Electronic Money Institution (EMI) license in Malaysia, applicants must submit a comprehensive set of documents. Here is a breakdown of the required documentation:

Documentation Type

Applicant's Details

Include detailed information about the applicant, covering key aspects such as company structure, ownership, and contact details.

Company's Business Activities

Clearly outline the business activities and the range of products or services offered by the company.

Incorporation Documents

Submit certified true copies of the company's registration form, memorandum and articles of association, or other constituent documents.

Financial Statements

Include certified true copies of the latest audited financial statements. In the case of a new company, provide additional documents.

Statutory Declaration

Furnish a statutory declaration declaring that the applicant has not been subjected to any regulatory action, criminal convictions, etc.

Undertaking by the Applicant

Provide an undertaking committing to keeping Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) informed of any material adverse developments.

Board Resolution

Include a certified true copy of the board resolution approving the application to issue electronic money.

Regulatory Approvals

Detail any approval, authorization, license, or permit required by or obtained from any regulatory authority.

Capital Requirements

Demonstrate financial capacity by maintaining minimum shareholders' funds, as specified by BNM, for the first three years.

Source of Additional Capital

Specify the source and amount of additional capital to be injected to fulfil the capital requirements.

Evaluation and Approval

The application process unfolds through several steps:

  • Preliminary Discussion: Prospective applicants express their intent and may engage in a preliminary discussion to understand requirements.
  • Formal Application Submission: A formal application, including a hardcopy submission to Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), initiates the evaluation process.
  • Clarification and Additional Information: BNM officers may contact applicants for clarification or additional information, with specified timeframes for responses.
  • Result Notification: Upon successful processing, applicants are informed of the result of their application.

Processing Fee

An applicant is required to pay a fee of RM500 to BNM via the following channel:

  • RENTAS with TRN code OBT01, account number 1547010015; or
  • Internet banking to Maybank account number 514150127067 under the name of Bank Negara Malaysia.

Such fees shall be paid by the applicant not later than seven (7) working days from the date the application is submitted to BNM.

Ensuring the meticulous preparation and submission of these documents is crucial for a smooth and successful application process. It reflects the applicant's commitment to regulatory compliance and transparency, essential elements in obtaining an EMI license in Malaysia.

In conclusion, obtaining an EMI license in Malaysia is a meticulous process that demands a comprehensive understanding of the regulatory landscape, a commitment to eligibility criteria, and adherence to AML and fraud prevention measures. As EMIs continue to shape the digital financial landscape, they play a critical role in fostering secure and efficient electronic transactions.

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