Exploring Lithuania as a FinTech Hub

2018-03-29
Exploring Lithuania as a FinTech Hub

Lithuania has certain invaluable advantages for FinTech startups in the age of evolving bank-FinTech narratives when collaborations and M&A are on the rise. For example, startups can obtain an e-money or payment license in just three months (four with preparation stage), which is two to three times faster than in other EU jurisdictions, Invest Lithuania, the official agency for Foreign Direct Investment and Business Development in Lithuania, emphasizes.

Additionally, initial capital requirements for “lite” bank license (license for challenger banks) are five times smaller than in other EU jurisdictions, and the license can be obtained in just six months (eight, if we count preparation). Moreover, according to Go Vilnius, the initial capital requirement for setting up a bank in Lithuania offering the usual range of banking services is the smallest in the Eurozone and amounts to €1 million – as mentioned earlier; this is five times less than the requirement applicable to banks offering a full range of banking services, including investment services.

FinTech startups in Lithuania get direct access to SEPA (reaching 34 countries) and are able to issue their own IBANs through Bank of Lithuania APIs. After full implementation of SEPA requirements in Lithuania in 2016, national limitations related to holding a payment account abroad were removed, Bank of Lithuania notes. Payment account owners in Lithuania gained the right to receive their salary, social benefits or other payments to any account opened in whichever member country, or receive funds from payers residing in other member countries (national institutions, employers, etc.) to their accounts opened with Lithuanian banks.

Talent is another important aspect of Lithuania’s attractiveness as a gateway into Europe and as a high-potential market of its own. With 2.9 million population, there are 31,500 IT professionals in Lithuania. And the level of proficiency in English among young professionals is at 84%.