Money changer

Applicable regulation and authorisation procedure

Money changers are natural persons or legal entities other than credit institutions, finance companies, payment institutions, electronic money institutions and institutions and services mentioned in Article L. 518-1 of the Monetary and Financial Code that conduct money changing transactions in the normal course of business.

A money changing transaction entails the immediate exchange of bills or banknotes denominated in different currencies. The fact of accepting, in exchange for cash delivered to a client, a settlement via another means of payment, also constitutes a money changing transaction, provided that it is denominated in a different currency.

The business of money changing is governed by the provisions of Articles L 524-1 à L. 524-7, L. 572-1 à L. 572-4, D. 524-1 et D. 524-2 of the Monetary and Financial Code and by the Executive Order of 10 September 2009 on the business of money changing.

Money changers are subject to due diligence and disclosure obligations in connection with the anti-laundering and counter terrorist financing arrangements arising from the provisions of Articles L. 561-2 à L. 561-44 of the Monetary and Financial Code.

If you wish to engage in the business of money changing, whether as a natural person or a legal entity, you must apply for authorisation from the Autorité de contrôle prudentiel et de résolution (ACPR) before starting this activity.

You may be eligible for an exemption if you carry out money changing transactions on an occasional basis or for limited amounts under the conditions mentioned Article D. 524-1.

Applicable regulation

To be authorised to pursue this activity, you must satisfy the following obligations:

  • be recorded in the trade and companies register;
  • have paid-up capital or a guarantee from a credit institution, a finance company or an insurance company in an amount equal to at least EUR 38,000;
  • senior managers and beneficial owners meet the requisite fitness and propriety requirements.

Beneficial owners are:

  • natural persons holding, directly or indirectly, at least 25% of the capital or voting rights of the undertaking;
  • natural persons exercising, through any other means, control over the management, administrative or decision-making bodies of the undertaking or over the general meeting of partners.

To be exempt from the need to apply for authorisation, you must be in one of the following two situations:

  • your main activity is not money changing, you are subject to the anti-laundering framework and the sum of the foreign currency purchase and sale transactions that you conduct over a given financial year does not exceed the equivalent of EUR 100,000;
  • your main activity is not money changing, you are not subject to the anti-laundering framework and you meet all of the following conditions:
  • the money changing activity is conducted solely for the benefit of clients of your main business activity and is directly connected to that activity;
  • the sum of the foreign currency purchase and sale transactions that you conduct over a given financial year does not exceed the equivalent of EUR 50,000 and does not exceed 5% of the revenues generated by all activities;
  • the absolute value of each money changing transaction does not exceed EUR 1,000, whether conducted in one single transaction or through several apparently related transactions.

If you are in one of these cases, you must send the ACPR General Secretariat, within three months of the end of your financial year, an annual statement on your honour in which you state that you do not carry on the business of money changing within the meaning of II of Article L. 524-1 and that you comply with the conditions set out in Article D. 524-1 of the Monetary and Financial Code.

Model statements were established by Instruction 2010-03 of the Commission Bancaire amended by ACPR Instruction 2011-I-03 and are available at the following addresses:

  • For persons mentioned in Article D. 524-1 who state that they do not carry on the business of money changing (persons mentioned in Article L. 561-2 of the Monetary and Financial Code other than those mentioned in 1° and 7° of this article): model statement.
  • For persons mentioned in Article D. 524-1 who state that they do not carry on the business of money changing (persons other than those mentioned in Article L. 561-2 of the Monetary and Financial Code): model statement
Authorisation procedure

Before commencing the activity of money changing, you must fill out an application for the desired authorisation and send it to the ACPR along with all supporting documentation:

The ACPR has three months to review your request from receipt of a complete dossier.

Updated on: 07/13/2017 14:54