The Ultimate Florida Collection Agency License Guide [2020 Update]
Are you thinking of launching a Florida collection agency? It’s a good idea to get acquainted with the administrative procedure that you have to go through in advance. This will ensure you can get authorized to do business in the state.
In order to operate in legal compliance, you have to obtain a Florida collection agency license. This requires that you fulfill a number of licensing criteria. This is how state authorities ensure that you are a suitable candidate for running a commercial or consumer collection agency.
In this guide, you can find the essential details about launching your collection agency in Florida, including the main licensing and bonding requirements.
Meet the Florida Collection Agency License Requirements
The Florida Office of Financial Regulation is the licensing authority for consumer and commercial collection agencies in the state. If you want to offer the service of collecting debts, you have to meet all of its requirements for the respective license type:
- Commercial debt collector – commercial claims, asserted to be owed or due to another person, including third party collectors of debts of commercial business
- Consumer debt collector – consumer debts, asserted to be owed or due to another person, including third party collectors of debts of individual consumers
The first step that you need to make is to register a business entity in Florida. You can do so via the Division of Corporations. If you’re planning to use an assumed name, you will also need a DBA registration.
In order to hire employees, you have to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS.
Other documents that you have to provide if you’re applying for a commercial collection agency license include:
- Personal information for all control persons (including president, CEO, CFO, COO, chief legal officer, chief compliance officer, director)
- Statement listing each county in the state in which you are currently doing business or plan to do business within the next year
- Statement listing each county in which you operate under a fictitious name or trade name
- Statement listing other corporations, entities, or trade names through which any owner or director was known or did business as a commercial or consumer collection agency within the last 5 calendar years
- Disclosure of any suspension, revocation, or other disciplinary action, as well as of proven guilt of any crime involving moral turpitude or dishonest conduct
Criminal Background Check
If you’re applying for a consumer collection agency license, you have to authorize fingerprinting for all control persons. They also have to pass a state criminal background check from the Department of Law Enforcement, as well as an FBI criminal history background check.
Post a Collection Agency Bond
Obtaining a Florida collection agency bond is one of the main requirements for commercial collection agencies in Florida. The bond works as a safety mechanism that protects the state and your customers against unlawful actions on your side. It guarantees your legal compliance. In cases of fraud, misuse, or other malpractices, the bond can provide fair compensation to harmed parties.
The bonding process entails that you cover a small percentage of the required amount, which is $50,000. It is called the premium and depends on the strength of your finances. The main factors that affect it include your credit score, business finances, and fixed and liquid assets.
The typical rates for debt collector applicants with stable profiles are in the range of 0.75% to 5%. Thus, your bond cost can be between $375 and $2,500.
Want to see the exact cost of your collection agency bond in the state of Florida? Fill in the short form below!
Complete the License Application
You have to fill in the Office’s application online:
Together with the completed form, you have to provide all the documents that are required.
You also have to pay a registration fee:
- $200 for consumer collection agencies
- $500 for commercial collection agencies
The Office has to review your full application to assess your profile. It has to ensure your compliance with Chapter 559, Part VI of the Florida Statutes, known as the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act, and other applicable laws.
Renew Your License
If the Office approves your application, your licensing period runs for one calendar year. This means that you have to undergo the renewal process before December 31st of every year. Then your licensing will continue for the next 12 months.
With every renewal, you have to showcase that you still meet all criteria for collection agencies set by the state Office. This includes renewing your $50,000 surety bond for commercial debt collectors.
Have more questions about getting your Florida collection agency license and bonding? You can reach us at 877.514.5146.