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A Swedish Payment Institution License Explained

While Surfboard Payments is overjoyed at the news that the Swedish FSA has granted us a full payment institution license, there may be some of you out there who have no idea what that means. For those of you who are not familiar with the laws and regulations within the payment industry, our COO Thomas Nilsson is here to explain!

What is a Payment Institution License?

The Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA) is responsible for regulations, authorizations, and supervision of all financial markets and their participants within the country, and they are responsible for granting Payment Institution License.

According to our COO Thomas Nilsson, The definition of a Payment Institution License is quite tricky, as there is not just one way to explain it. A Payment Institution (PI) license can, among other things, grant companies the right to act as a payment service provider; thus allowing the execution of card and account-based transactions. It is required in order to perform or initiate payments of some kind. There are also a variety of sub-licenses of a PI License. Surfboard Payments has been granted the sub-license for the execution of payment transactions via card or bank account transfer.

The license gives Surfboard Payments control of the “payment flow,” which means that the company is allowed to handle merchant or business owner funds. But with this opportunity comes an added responsibility and liability in terms of knowing and verifying the merchants through Know Your Customer (KYC). Surfboard Payments, thanks to the PI License, is now also given the opportunity to build its own onboarding process which will in turn make life easier for the merchants trying to get started with their products such as Surfpay.

“Owning” the customers and the payment flow is essential to provide and develop the best services for merchants,” says Thomas Nilsson COO of Surfboard Payments.

Going Forward…

The major benefit for Surfboard Payments obtaining this Payment Institution License from the Swedish FSA is becoming less dependent on partners to roll out their products. Getting the opportunity to design the onboarding process themselves, puts the Swedish startup in a better position to scale efficiently. Also without the need for partners Surfboard Payments has better control over the flow of payments and the control of data.

Surfboard Payment’s application for the Swedish Payment Institution License was submitted at the end of January. The application was deemed complete on February 11th. Now the final decision has been made in May, just three months after the completion date, giving the company the right tools to move forward.

“Having the confidence of the Swedish FSA feels great and serves as proof of the competence in the team we have built,” says Thomas Nilsson. “Getting the PI license is a major milestone and important piece in executing our expansion agenda, starting soon in Sweden followed by other European countries.”

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Checkout our products

Take a look at our products which includes both hardware-, and software-based payment solutions


Hardware terminal

Our all-in-one handheld smart terminal device with scanner. Possible to mount in the countertop with a charger stand


Hardware terminal

Our all-in-one handheld smart terminal device with scanner and printer. Good fit for restaurants, cafés, and bars


Hardware terminal

With a physical keypad. Perfect as a card terminal replacement, or paired with a customer-facing tablet screen


Hardware terminal

Our unattended payment terminal is designed to seamlessly integrate EV chargers, vending machines, public transport, and beyond.


Payment application

Our SoftPOS solution is for any Android smartphone, with no extra hardware needed. Can also be used as backup


Payment application

The customer-facing screen for multiple payment methods, loyalty, and campaigns. To be accompanied by the SurfPad


Online Payments

Pre-built checkout page through link or SDK for your webshop or app