Electronic money - what it is

Electronic money is an electronically stored monetary value that can be used to make payment transactions, i.e. to deposit, transfer or withdraw funds.

The monetary value must correspond to the amount of banknotes and coins or book-entry currency that is delivered by the acquirer of that currency (the customer with electronic money) to the issuer of the electronic money in order to carry out the payment transactions.

A prepaid card is an example of electronic money, but there are electronic money accounts that do not have associated cards.


Use of electronic money

Electronic money must be used in accordance with the terms and conditions previously agreed with the issuer of the electronic money.

The conditions must be transmitted by the issuer prior to the conclusion of the contract with the customer.

The contract must include, in particular, information on the conditions for repayment of the money, including any fees associated with the repayment.

The electronic money issuer cannot pay interest to the customer or assign other benefits related to the period of time during which it holds the electronic money.

Since electronic money enables payment transactions (for example, transfers) to be carried out, the rules governing the provision of the payment services concerned apply to such transactions.

Low-value electronic money:

  • Only allows individual payment transactions of not more than 30 euros to be executed; or

  • Allows the execution of payment transactions that have an expense limit of 150 euros; or

  • Does not allow the storage of more than 150 euros.


Amendments to electronic money contracts:

  • Issuers must propose changes up to two months before the date on which they are to be applied. In the case of a low-value electronic money, a different term may be agreed.

  • Electronic money issuers can only terminate the contract if this is contractually foreseen and if they comply with a pre-notice of at least two months.

Reimbursement of electronic money

Customers may request the issuer to reimburse the electronic money at any time at its nominal value.

Electronic money issuers may charge a fee for the reimbursement, if provided for in the contract, and in one of the following cases:

  • Where the request for reimbursement is made before the term established for the contract;

  • Where the contract establishes a term and the customer terminates the contract before that date;

  • Where the request for reimbursement is made more than one year after the end of the contract.

The reimbursement fee must be proportionate to the costs actually borne by the issuer.

Without prejudice to certain exceptions applicable to low-value electronic money, electronic money issuers must reimburse customers when unauthorised transactions are carried out.