The Currency Exchange Act

Written by brian gawley
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The Currency Exchange Act
Illinois has regulated check-cashing businesses since 1957. (check book image by Rob Hill from

The Currency Exchange Act is a 1957 Illinois law that regulates the currency exchange (check-cashing and money orders) industry through the Department of Financial Institutions. The act requires licensing and annual examinations to ensure the more than 600 community currency exchanges adhere to state standards.

Act Requirements

The act requires businesses providing check-cashing and money orders to have a one-year renewable currency exchange license for each location, based upon a community needs analysis. The license is issued based upon the proposed business's effect on existing currency exchange businesses and the community's need for one.

Required Forms And Documents

Currency exchange licenses under the act require a £325 fee and five-part application: checklist, application, questionnaire, financial statement and affidavit.

A signed purchase agreement and documentation of source and method of funding---loan, cash, equity---are required to buy an existing business.

Every company officer, board director or owner must submit a questionnaire and financial statement. References may not be family members or employees of other currency exchanges.

Applicants for a new license, asset or stock sale or officer approval are required to submit narrative personal credit reports from a recognised credit bureau.

Available Services

Although best known for check cashing and money orders, Illinois currency exchanges under the act also may offer a wide range of additional services, including wire transfers, bill payment, bail bond cards, cash advances, bus passes, foreign currency exchange, hunting and fishing licenses, faxes and copies, notary public, private mailboxes and stamps.

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