Contemplating the establishment of a digital bank, neobank, or e-wallet? This guide presents an extensive roadmap delineating all the essential steps required to transform your concept into a flourishing business endeavor.

Formulating a Business Model

Prior to immersing yourself in the intricacies of commencing your fintech enterprise, it is imperative to construct a robust business plan. This dynamic document serves as your guiding principle, delineating specific tasks imperative for both immediate and long-term success. Furthermore, a well-documented business plan is indispensable when soliciting funding from investors and navigating regulatory protocols. Without a lucid strategic vision and implementation strategy, the likelihood of your business idea floundering escalates significantly. Your business plan should be easily comprehensible to investors, regulators, and other stakeholders, elucidating your targeted markets, customer base, solutions, and distinctive value propositions. Additionally, financial forecasts spanning at least three years should accompany the plan.

Company Formation and Office Setup

Depending on the jurisdiction, you may be obligated to register your company as a legal entity and establish an office prior to applying for a license. While some regulatory bodies solely mandate reserving a company name, many stipulate the necessity of a physical office with local employees. This physical establishment serves as evidence of your dedication to operating your business earnestly, a pivotal factor in garnering regulatory approval.

Acquiring Licensing and Regulatory Approval

The subsequent crucial step involves acquiring the requisite licenses or becoming an EMD/PSD Agent of a licensed entity. It is imperative to delineate how your business will be managed from a regulatory perspective. While some startups opt to operate under the auspices of partner licenses, others pursue licenses independently. For launching a digital bank or e-wallet in the EEA/UK, procuring e-money or payment licenses is deemed ideal. The process of obtaining these licenses varies by regulator and can span from 5 to 12 months, sometimes extending further. The steps typically encompass an introduction to the regulator, preparation and submission of all requisite documents, formation of the team, opening of business and safeguarding accounts, payment of initial capital, and authorization. EEA-based companies may also seek passporting to operate in other EEA countries. An alternative approach to kickstart your digital bank or e-wallet is by securing an MSB registration in Canada. This avenue proffers several key advantages over opting for EEA-UK licenses:


  • Expanded Service Offerings: MSB registration in Canada facilitates a broader spectrum of services, including activities involving cryptocurrencies, often restricted under EEA-UK licenses.
  • Expedited License Acquisition: Compared to various jurisdictions, including EEA-UK, obtaining an MSB registration in Canada typically entails a swifter licensing process, enabling you to launch your venture expeditiously.
  • Diverse Client Base: With an MSB registration, you can cater to a diverse portfolio of clients across various industries, geographical locations, and risk levels, thereby providing abundant opportunities for business growth and expansion.
  • Lower Initial Investments: Initiating your digital bank or e-wallet with an MSB registration in Canada necessitates lower initial investments compared to pursuing licenses in the EEA-UK region, rendering it a more cost-effective option for startups.

Preparing the IT System and Selecting the Appropriate Core Banking System or E-Wallet Software

Establishing your IT infrastructure constitutes another pivotal step in launching your digital bank. It is essential to possess a clear vision of your platform, whether developed in-house or procured from a vendor. Regulators often mandate a fully operational IT system, core banking, or e-wallet system by the time of license issuance, with some providing a grace period of up to a year for implementation and auditing. First, let’s elucidate core banking or e-wallet software. It encompasses a suite of applications enabling financial institutions to manage various banking operations, ranging from account management to transaction processing and reporting. Fintech companies are embracing modern core banking software to augment their operations and compete effectively with traditional banks.

So, what factors should you contemplate when selecting a core banking solution or e-wallet software? Here are some crucial considerations:


  • Automation: Efficiency reigns supreme, and your core banking software should streamline and automate processes like transaction processing and IBAN generation. This automation serves to minimize errors, enhance efficiency, and liberate resources for more strategic tasks.
  • Analytics: Real-time data and analytics are pivotal for informed decision-making. Your software should furnish insights into transaction volumes, customer behavior patterns, and fraud detection, thereby empowering you to optimize services and mitigate risks effectively.
  • Integrations: Seamless integration with third-party providers is imperative for fintech companies. Whether pertaining to payments, card issuance, or KYC verification, your core banking software should integrate seamlessly with external services, ensuring a cohesive user experience and mitigating security risks.
  • Scalability: As your fintech venture burgeons, your software should scale commensurately. It should adeptly handle increased transaction volumes, store copious amounts of data, and adapt to evolving business needs seamlessly.
  • Security: Given the sensitive nature of financial data, robust security features are non-negotiable. Your core banking software should adhere to the highest security standards, encompassing encryption, multi-factor authentication, and regular security audits.
  • Usability: User-friendly interfaces are indispensable for both employees and customers. Whether navigating mobile banking apps or configuring back-office operations, your software should proffer intuitive usability across all platforms and devices.
  • Customization: Tailoring your software to meet specific requisites is imperative. Nonetheless, customization can be intricate and costly, necessitating alignment of your needs with feasible and cost-effective solutions.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Adherence to regulatory requirements is paramount. Your core banking software should comply with data privacy laws, anti-money laundering regulations, Coomersu and consumer protection laws, thereby minimizing the risk of fines and reputational damage.
  • Built-in Accounting: A comprehensive accounting system is indispensable for financial tracking and reporting. It is imperative to ascertain that your software encompasses a robust general ledger compliant with international financial reporting standards.
  • Cost: Ultimately, consider the holistic costs encompassing setup fees, monthly maintenance, integration costs, and software updates. Opt for a solution that aligns with your budget while effectively meeting your business needs.

Development of Business Infrastructure

Once licensed and equipped with a functional IT system, focus shifts to developing your business infrastructure and forging partnerships. This encompasses opening business and safeguarding accounts with banks, obtaining BIC numbers through SWIFT for IBAN issuance, and partnering with service providers for automation, functionality, and features.

In conclusion, launching a digital bank, neobank, or e-wallet necessitates meticulous planning, diligent execution, and adherence to regulatory guidelines. By adhering to this comprehensive roadmap, you can adeptly navigate the complexities inherent in commencing a fintech venture and manifest your vision into a resounding success.