FAQs for Indian Tribal Governments regarding Check Cashers


These frequently asked questions and answers are provided for general information only and should not be cited as any type of legal authority. They are designed to provide the user with information required to respond to general inquiries. Due to the uniqueness and complexities of Indian law and Federal tax law, it is imperative to ensure a full understanding of the specific question presented, and to perform the requisite research to ensure a correct response is provided.

What is a check casher and when does it fall under Title 31?

A check casher is a person engaged in the business of check cashing (other than a person who does not cash checks in an amount greater than $1000 in currency or monetary or other instruments for any person on any day in one or more transactions). A check casher is a type of money services business, and is regulated by Title 31.

See FAQs regarding Identification of Money Services Businesses and Registration of Money Services Businesses.

What are the recordkeeping requirements for check cashers?

Check cashers must maintain certain records for five years, including:

  • copies of all filed CTRs,
  • a copy of registration, if applicable, and
  • all records created from the AML Program requirements.

Check cashers are not required to maintain any additional records under BSA regulations; however, FinCEN believes that an argument can be made that an AML compliance program that does not maintain records or copies of checks cashed is not reasonably designed to insure compliance with the BSA. For example, if the check casher did not keep these records, its internal controls could not ensure that employees are filing CTRs properly. Also, the check casher's AML program requirement to provide for independent review (to monitor and maintain an adequate program) would be problematic in the absence of any records of checks cashed. FinCEN does caution that the effectiveness of a check casher's internal controls might depend on what other kinds of records the check casher keeps, for example:

  • bank statements list individual deposits,
  • deposit slip lists individual checks, or
  • system generated bank deposit slips provide individual check detail,

If the check casher maintains these records, it might not need additional internal controls, such as maintaining records of checks cashed.

Check cashers are not subject to the requirement to report suspicious activity, for example, a business that is involved exclusively in check cashing has no requirement to file a SAR. However, if they provide other money services which have a suspicious activity reporting requirement, and the check cashing transaction is part of the suspicious activity, then the check cashing activity must be reported in the SAR. Copies of the SARs and any supporting documentation, which may include a copy of a check cashed, must then be kept for five years.

The current annual agent list and agent list(s) for the past five years must also be maintained, if applicable.