Money Services Business (MSB) Information Center
** ALERT ** ALERT ** ALERT **
If you receive a notice from the IRS informing you that
You Are a Victim of Identity Theft
please call the phone number provided on that notice. Or go to the Identity Theft web page for assistance.
Money Services Business
Businesses offering check cashing, money orders, travelers checks, money transfers, currency dealing or exchange, and pre-paid access (formerly stored value) products are Money Services Businesses and are subject to Bank Secrecy Act requirements.
Registering with the Federal Government
With few exceptions, each money services business must register with the Department of the Treasury by filing FinCEN Form 107 (PDF). A person that is an MSB solely because that person serves as an agent of another MSB is not required to register. Registration of an MSB is the responsibility of the owner or controlling person of the MSB and must be filed by the end of the 180-day period beginning on the day after the date the MSB was established.
Developing an Effective AML Compliance Program
Each MSB is required by law to have an effective anti-money laundering (AML) program. An effective program is one that is reasonably designed to prevent the money services business from being used to facilitate money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities. Each program must be commensurate with the inherent risks, must be in writing and must:
- Incorporate policies, procedures and internal controls reasonably designed to assure compliance with the BSA.
- Designate a compliance office responsible for day-to-day compliance with the BSA.
- Provide education and/or training of appropriate personnel.
- Provide for independent review to monitor and maintain an adequate program.
Reporting Suspicious Activities
When the MSB knows, suspects or has reason to suspect that the transaction or pattern of transactions is suspicious and involves $2,000 or more, a FinCEN Form 109, Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) (PDF) must be filed by the covered MSB.
Identity Theft and Fraudulently Obtained Tax Refund Checks
Some individuals are filing fraudulent tax returns to claim tax refunds using names and Social Security numbers they have stolen from other taxpayers. These identity thieves are using check cashers to cash the tax refund checks possibly because they believe banks are more likely to closely scrutinize the transaction. The checks will be made payable in the name of the taxpayer who has had his identity stolen, not the real name of the person who is trying to cash the check. For check cashers, a list of tax refund check fraud indicators and additional details on the actions check cashers should take are available.
The BSA E-Filing System supports electronic filing of Bank Secrecy Act forms (either individually or in batches) through a FinCEN secure network. BSA E-Filing provides a faster, more convenient, more secure, and more cost-effective method for submitting BSA forms.
Other Anti-Money Laundering Reporting Requirements
Form 8300 and Reporting Cash Payments of Over $10,000
For those trade or businesses not required to maintain an AML Compliance Program under the BSA, the receipt of cash payments exceeding $10,000 from one buyer as a result of a single transaction or two or more related transactions must report the transaction(s) by filing Form 8300, Report of Cash Payments Over >0,000 Received in a Trade or Business (PDF).
Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR)
U.S. persons having a financial interest in or signature authority over a foreign financial account, including a bank account, brokerage account, mutual fund, trust, or other type of foreign financial account, the Bank Secrecy Act may require the annual reporting of the account to the Internal Revenue Service by filing TD F 90-22.1, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) (PDF).
Report of International Transportation of Currency (CMIR)
Each person who physically transports, mails or ships, or causes to be physically transported, mailed, shipped or received, currency, travelers checks, and certain other monetary instruments in an aggregate amount exceeding $10,000 into or out of the United States must file a FinCEN Form 105 (CMIR) (PDF).
Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) Resources
- Title 31 Helpline: 866-270-0733 (toll-free inside the U.S.) or 313-234-6146 (not toll-free, for callers outside the U.S.)
- FinCEN Regulatory Helpline: 800-949-2732
- Bank Secrecy Act Requirements A Quick Reference Guide for MSBs (PDF)
- Examination Manual for Money Services Businesses (PDF)
- Reporting Suspicious Activity A Quick Reference Guide for MSBs (PDF)
- Money Laundering Prevention An MSB Guide (PDF)