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Using a Licensed Money Transmitter


Money Transmitter Services

How to Send Money Safely, Save on Rates and Fees, and Avoid Fraud

Always Use a Licensed Money Transmitter

In order to do business in New York, money transmitters must be licensed by the Department of Financial Services (DFS).  Money transmitters may operate through a network of agents.  Agents of money transmitters are not required to be registered or licensed by the DFS, but must have a written contract with a licensed money transmitter to act as its agent.

How do I know that I am using a licensed money transmitter or authorized agent of a licensed money transmitter?

All licensed money transmitters and their agents must affix a notice on the front window or entrance of its door, at least 20 inches wide x 12 inches high, indicating the name of the licensee and the statement that the licensee is “Licensed as a Money Transmitter by the Department of Financial Services.”

If you don’t see the sign, don’t use the money transmitter or agent!

What is a licensed money transmitter required to provide as evidence of a money transmission?

Get a receipt for your transaction. Save your receipt in case there is a problem. A receipt will make it easier to trace the transaction and to resolve any dispute surrounding the transaction. Your receipt would typically contain the following basic information:

  • The sender’s name
  • The receiver’s name
  • A notification of the option to pay the wired money in dollars
  • Any and all fees associated with the transfer

The receipt, at a minimum, is required by regulation to disclose the following:

  • the name and principal address of the licensee,
  • the type of transmission activity the licensee is authorized to engage in,
  • a telephone number established by the licensee to answer questions and register complaints,
  • that the licensee is licensed and regulated by the DFS,
  • that unresolved consumer complaints may be mailed to the DFS,
  • a statement of the liability of the licensee for nondelivery or delayed delivery,
  • a statement of the refund policy of the licensee,
  • the dollar amount of transmission, and
  • the fee charged.

What other types of information should I ask about?

Some money transmitters may charge additional or hidden fees. Ask about any other fees that may be charged to you and/or to the person to whom you are sending the money.

If you are sending money to a foreign country and not asking for the transaction to be delivered in dollars, ask about the licensee’s foreign exchange policy.  Determine if the foreign exchange policy or exchange rate is disclosed.  If an exchange rate is not disclosed, is the amount the beneficiary is to receive indicated?

Find out before you make your transaction if there is a time limit for filing a refund claim in the event of delayed payment or failed delivery. 

Shop Around for the Best Currency Exchange Rate and the Lowest Fees

Be aware that money transmitters charge different fees and may offer different exchange rates as the DFS does not regulate fees charged or exchange rates used within the money transmitter industry. Shop around.  Ask the money transmitter or its agent about the fees to be charged and its foreign exchange policy.