The Department regulates check cashers pursuant to O.C.G.A. §§ 7-1-700 through 7-1-709.2. A “check casher” is a business entity that engages in the cashing of checks or other payment instruments for a fee. O.C.G.A. § 7-1-700(3). As it relates to check cashing, “fee” means a service charge, benefit, or other consideration, which includes, but is not limited to, cash, the exchange of value in excess of regular retail value, mandatory purchase of goods or services by patrons, or the purchase of catalogue items or coupons or other items indicating the ability to receive goods, services, or catalogue items. O.C.G.A. § 7-1-700(10).
In addition, Georgia law limits the amount of the fee that check cashers can charge. Specifically, O.C.G.A. § 7-1-707(f) provides that:
(f) No licensee shall:
- Charge a fee for cashing payment instruments in excess of 5 percent of the face amount of the payment instrument or $5.00, whichever is greater;
- Charge a fee for cashing payment instruments in excess of 3 percent of the face amount of the payment instrument or $5.00, whichever is greater, if such payment instrument is state public assistance or a federal social security benefit made payable to the bearer of such payment instrument; or
- Charge a fee for cashing payment instruments in excess of 10 percent of the face amount of the payment instrument or $5.00, whichever is greater, if such payment instrument is a personal check or money order. For purposes of this subsection, "personal check or money order" means a payment instrument drawn against the account of an individual.
Check cashers must be licensed by the Department in order to offer check cashing to Georgia consumers unless the entity qualifies for one of the limited exemptions listed in O.C.G.A. § 7-1-701.1. The Department utilizes the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System (“NMLS”) to license and manage check cashers. Consumers can verify that check cashers are authorized to operate in Georgia by checking NMLS Consumer Access, available at www.nmlsconsumeraccess.com.
If you believe that you have conducted business with an entity cashing checks or other payment instruments for a fee in Georgia who is not listed as a licensed entity through NMLS Consumer Access, please report such entity to [email protected].
If you have had an issue with a licensed check casher in Georgia, you should attempt to resolve the issue directly with the business. If you are unable to resolve the issue directly with the entity, you may wish to file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”). For more information about the CFPB complaint process, please visit: www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/.
The Department is not authorized to resolve disputes between consumers and financial service providers. However, the Department does use information provided by consumers in its regulatory process. If you wish to report an issue to the Department, please send information to [email protected].
For more information on how the Department regulates check cashers, please visit "Check Cashers."
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