How to Register Your California Credit Services Organization

Published: Jun 28, 2019
california credit services organization registration guide


Under the California Credit Services Act of 1984, anyone who wants to operate as a credit services organization (CSO) in the state, needs to register with the state Department of Justice.

To pass the registration process, you will need to complete an application, attach various documents, submit a California credit services organization bond, and pay a filing fee.

See the following sections for a breakdown of the registration requirements for CSOs in California.

The registration process for California CSOs

Before you can register your CSO, you will need to register your business with the Secretary of State. Depending on the type of your business, you may also need to meet various other requirements, all of which you can learn about at the California Business Portal website.

Once you’ve completed the previous step, you can proceed with your CSO registration at the Department of Justice. The registration requirements of the Department include the following:

    • Your business registration
    • Your principal place of business and your contact information
    • Any additional business locations
    • All owners and principals of the company
    • All managers of the company
    • Any judgments, bankruptcies, criminal convictions, etc. against the applicant, an owner or principal of the company.
    • Any litigation or consumer complaint against the applicant
    • All methods of advertising which will be utilized
    • Technical, physical, administrative safeguards of the applicant to provide security for any collected and stored personal information
    • A description of the credit services which the company will offer
  • Provide copies of various advertisements, sales scripts, and presentations, recordings of sales calls, documents provided to prospective buyers, etc.
  • Provide a copy of a recent financial statements
  • Submit a $100,000 surety bond for credit repair business to the Secretary of State

Once you’ve completed all of the above requirements, you need to submit your documentation at the following address, along with a $100 filing fee:

Department of Justice
Attorney General’s Office
P.O. Box 85266
San Diego, CA 92186-5266

Credit services organization certificates of registration expire at the end of the year they are issued. To remain registered, you must renew your certificate before January 1. The Department of Justice does not send out renewal notices, so it is your responsibility to keep track of the renewal.

How to get a California credit services organization bond

The surety bond requirement is central to the registration process for CSOs in California. Unless an applicant posts the surety bond to the Secretary of State, their registration application will not be considered. The purpose of this bond is to guarantee the CSO’s compliance with the California Credit Services Act of 1984.

The amount of this bond is $100,000. This is the total amount of financial security that the bond guarantees to individuals who make use of the services of a registered CSO.

To get bonded, applicants must pay a surety bond premium. This premium is different from the bond amount, though. It is determined by the surety on the basis of an applicant’s credit score and other financials.

Applicants with a credit score of 700 FICO or above can expect to get bonded at a rate between .75% and 1.5% of the total amount of this bond. Those with a slightly lower score can usually expect a rate between 1% and 2.5%, and those with even lower scores will be bonded at a rate above 2.5%. To get a ballpark estimate on your surety bond premium use our free surety bond cost calculator.

You can easily request a free quote on your bond by following the link on the banner below!

If you have any questions about getting this bond, call us at 877.514.5146!

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Victor Lance is the founder and president of Lance Surety Bond Associates, Inc. He began his career as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving two combat tours. As president of Lance Surety, he now focuses on educating and assisting small businesses throughout the country with various license and bond requirements. Victor graduated from Villanova University with a degree in Business Administration and holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business.

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