Card Scheme Principal Membership Requirements ( Visa / Mastercard / China UnionPay ) AuthoriPay

Principal Card Scheme memberships with providers like Visa, Mastercard and China UnionPay are the best way to take control of your payment service products. But what it takes to get access to these schemes is often seen as a mystery. Unlike most questions, getting a concise answer by searching google has not historically been possible.

Card Schemes do not issue regulated licences, instead they allow you to become a member of a recognisable brand that provides payment services. But this does not make them any less challenging than applying to a regulator.

Membership applications for card schemes are complex, time-consuming, and there is a need to prove to the card schemes that you are worth being part of their brand.

AuthoriPay has more than seven decades worth of combined Fintech industry experience. With our knowledge and expertise, we guide our clients through every step of the membership process to ensure their applications are not only successful but save our clients significant time and costs.

Here are a few frequently asked questions we see when it comes to scheme membership enquiries

How do I apply for principal membership of Visa / Mastercard / China UnionPay

Unlike the financial regulators, the card schemes have a product first approach. They want to know what your business does and how this impacts them.

As the applicant firm, you are required to present details about your company’s current standing, product and customer details, as well as the compliance approach taken to mitigate the risk to yourself and the customers. Knowing exactly how your business model will work in line with card scheme rules is key to a successful application.

Will I need a financial license to become a card scheme principal member?

Yes. Having a Payment Institution or Emoney License is a prerequisite for any scheme membership.
The card schemes are their own products, but they operate under the regulatory licenses your firm uses for everyday business. For example, Payment Institution Licenses are largely used for Merchant Acquiring, while Emoney Licenses are used for Card Issuing.

Joining a card scheme does not permit you to operate financial services, it only gives you the right to use the products and brands of which you are a member.

Can I be a card scheme member as a PSD or EMD agent?

Unfortunately, Principal Memberships are only available to direct license holders.

How much does it cost to become a member of Visa / Mastercard / China UnionPay?

Depending on the membership category and card scheme you are looking to apply for, things can vary regarding application fees and project costs.

However, a budget of €50,000 – €100,000 should be put aside for your first year of scheme membership to cover the required application and project fees. Once you start trading, fees are tiered and adjusted to suit your business activity.

How long does a card scheme membership application take?

With AuthoriPay’s help, scheme membership can be achieved in under two months, instead of the standard five.

Becoming a principal card scheme member requires a comprehensive application pack which contains a business plan, financial forecasts, details of anti-money laundering procedures and proof that the applicant is fully up to date with the card schemes’ core rules and processes.

With knowledge of what needs to happen, what the schemes are looking for, and how to best present it, AuthoriPay streamlines the application cutting months off the usual timeline and saving clients typically around €50,000 in their first year of operations alone.

Card Scheme Principal Membership Requirements ( Visa / Mastercard / China UnionPay ) AuthoriPay

How can AuthoriPay help with card scheme principal membership?

AuthoriPay are experts at making card scheme applications a stress-free and accelerated process.

By evaluating your current issuing or acquiring plans we can implement a project management strategy that will optimize your scheme membership approval and BIN implementation saving you time and money and pushing your launch window forward a full financial quarter

When your application pack is ready to be submitted, we can either talk with the schemes on your behalf or coach you through each step. With us on your side this meeting is certain to be a breeze.

Once engaged with the card schemes, AuthoriPay will submit and track the application for you. Knowing what to submit and when, as well as answering any questions quickly and correctly, we can help you avoid any necessary costs or delays

What Should I do next?

If your budget and ambitions match with the above give us a call or email:

Alternatively for smaller projects we can offer BIN Sponsorship under our sister company AuthoriPay Emoney Ltd which holds a Mastercard licence.