Overview of Washington Money Transmitter Bond Requirements
Chapter 19.230 of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW), also known as the Uniform Money Services Act, requires applicants for a money transmitter license to get a surety bond. Such applicants need to get a money transmitter bond in an amount between $10,000 and $550,000.
The exact amount of this bond is based on the money transmission and payment instrument dollar volume of the applicant in the previous year. For new applicants, the bond amount must be calculated quarterly and only once per year after that.
Who needs this bond?
The Revised Code of Washington requires anyone who wants to engage in money transmission to get licensed and bonded. Money transmission is defined as including:
- Receiving money or something of equivalent value (such as virtual currency) to transmit, deliver, or instruct to be delivered to another location by various means such as wire, electronic transfer, and others
- Selling, issuing or acting as an intermediary for open-loop prepaid access and payment instruments
Why do I need to get bonded?
This bond serves the twofold function of guaranteeing your compliance with the laws of Washington as well as of providing financial security to the state and the public.
If a licensed transmitter violates the provisions of the RCW and thereby causes losses to any person the latter can file a claim against the transmitter's bond. A bond claim allows claimants to secure compensation for losses and is typically covered by the surety. Such compensation can be as high as the full bond amount.
See our ‘What is a surety bond' guide if you want to learn more about how bonds work, and why they are required!
Keep reading for more information about this bond, how bond claims arise, and how you can get bonded.
If you have any further questions about this bond, call us at 866.450.3412 anytime to speak to one of our surety professional!
What's the Cost of the Washington Money Transmitter Bond?
An applicant's bond premium is equal to a fraction of the total amount of their bond. This fraction is determined by the surety when you apply for your bond.
Applicants for a money transmitter bond in Washington must obtain a bond in an amount of at least $10,000 and up to $550,000, as determined by the Department of Financial Institutions. In special cases, the amount can be increased to a maximum of $1,000,000.
Your bond premium will be based on the specific amount of your bond and is determined in the following way.
Factors that determine the bond premium
Your personal credit score has the greatest influence in determining the exact amount of your premium. Along with this, sureties will frequently also consider the following factors to get a fuller picture of your bonding risk:
- Applicants' personal and business financial statements
- Applicants' liquidity and asset profile
- Applicants' industry experience
If you have a credit score of 700 or above, you can expect to be offered a rate between 1%-4% of the full bond amount.
Want to get an estimate of the cost of your bond? Try our bond calculator below!
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Can I get bonded if I have low credit?
Even if you have a low credit score, you can still apply for and obtain a bond just as everyone else. The difference between applicants with higher and lower scores is that the latter are typically required to pay slightly higher rates. Sureties perceive low credit as constituting a higher risk and therefore issue bonds to such applicants at higher rates.
But since bond rates are not fixed, this means you can get progressively better rates on your bonds by improving your credit score over time.
Have a low score but want to get bonded? Learn more about getting bonded under these conditions from our Bad Credit Program page!
What Gives Rise to a Bond Claim?
RCW 19.230.050 from the state's legislature states s that the bond required by money transmitters in Washington is for the benefit of anyone who suffers a loss due to a transmitter's violation of the Uniform Money Services Act, or any rules applied under it.
In other words, if a transmitter violates the provisions of the Act and causes losses to anyone, that person may file a claim against their bond to request compensation. This compensation must ultimately be covered by the transmitter, but may initially be covered by the surety. The amount of compensation will be based on the losses suffered though it will not be higher than the full amount of the bond.
Once a claim is resolved by a surety, the bonded transmitter will need to reimburse the surety. This is a standard condition under any bond agreement because the bonded party is ultimately liable for any liabilities that arise due to their actions.
That's why compliance with the bond agreement and its conditions is the safest way to avoid having to deal with a claim.
Get Your Money Transmitter Bond Here!
To get started with your application, simply complete our brief bond form. We will then contact you to provide you with a free and accurate quote on your money transmitter bond and supply you with any further information.
If you have any further questions about this bond, or the process involved, call us at 866.450.3412!