California Money Transmitter License – Basic Information
Getting a Money Transmitter License for California is considered one of the most difficult tasks in the industry. Included in the ‘Big 3’ licenses, the Golden State’s regulations are even more complicated than the other two – New York and Texas – for money services businesses to navigate.
Who Regulates the License?
The regulator that governs the money transmitter license in California is the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI).
The Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System handles all new license applications, fee submissions, and all other related matters. You can find application instructions and other details on this page which also provides a checklist for new license applicants.
The checklist fully explains the whole application process for money services businesses operating in California and includes the following:
- General Information
- License Fees
- Requirements that will be completed in NMLS
- Requirements/Documents that will be Uploaded in NMLS
- Requirements that will be submitted outside of NMLS
California Money Transmitter License Cost
When you are filing an application for a new money transmitter license for California, the fee is $5000. Keep in mind that this is a NON-REFUNDABLE fee and if your application is incomplete, you will not get any money back. This means you will have to submit the $5000 again when you re-apply with a completed form. In addition, there is a $15 fee for each control person.
In addition to the costs mentioned above, there are other costs involved as well when you apply for a money transmitter license in California. The PDF below lists all the costs in detail and also includes our professional charges for assisting you in applying for a money transmitter license in California.
California Money Transmitter License Compliance Program & Other Allied Costs
If you have gone through the checklist linked above, you will notice there is a large section that details all the AML and Compliance-related documents that an applicant will need to submit.
In order to comply with these, you will not only need a full-time compliance officer but also a detailed and properly fleshed-out compliance program that includes everything from your management structure for compliance reporting to an explanation of how you will handle OFAC requirements.
This kind of program can cost anywhere between $30,000 to $90,000.
Money Transmitter License California Net Worth
California requires a minimum tangible net worth of $500,000 for new MTL applicants.
California MTL Surety Bond
You will also be required to submit a surety bond in order to qualify for a license in this state. While the correct amount will vary depending on your services, some basic guidelines are that the amount should be “in an amount greater than the average daily outstanding obligations for money received for transmission.” However, the amount must be between $250,000 minimum and $7,000,000 maximum.
How Much Time Will it Take to Get an MTL in California?
If you are expecting a California money transmitter license in a matter of months – forget it, it will take a minimum of one year before you are able to obtain it.
If you want to apply for an MTL yourself, we recommend you read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for becoming a money transmitter in California before you dive into the application process.
This page was last updated on June 1, 2023.