What is the federal definition of a money transmitter?

A money transmitter is a type of financial institution that is defined by the United States Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) as a business that provides money transmission services or any other activity that involves the transfer of funds.

According to FinCEN’s definition, a money transmitter is a business that:

  1. Provides money transmission services, such as wire transfers or online money transfers.
  2. Accepts and transmits funds, or the value of funds, by any means, including wire, facsimile, or electronic transfer.
  3. Provides a service for the issuance, sale, or redemption of stored value, such as prepaid debit cards or gift cards.
  4. Provides check cashing services.
  5. Provides currency exchange services.

Money transmitters are subject to federal regulation under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and are required to register with FinCEN and comply with certain reporting and recordkeeping requirements to help prevent money laundering and other financial crimes.

It’s worth noting that the definition of a money transmitter can vary by state, and some states may have additional requirements for money transmitters that operate within their borders.

This page was last updated on January 3, 2023.

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