If you want to engage in the business of collecting debts in the State of Florida, you will need to get a collection agency license. The Florida Office of Financial Regulation oversees the licensing process for debt collectors. They have established numerous criteria you must meet to be eligible for a license.
In this post, we will teach you how to get a Florida debt collection license so that you can get your collection agency up and running.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Who needs a Florida debt collection license?
- Steps to get a Florida debt collection license
- How to renew your Florida collection agency license
- How EZ Surety Bonds can help with a Florida debt collection license
Who needs a Florida debt collection license?
The Florida Office of Financial Regulation requires anyone in the business of collecting debts to get a Florida debt collection agency license. There are two types of licenses available:
- Commercial Debt Collector License: Lets the debt collector collect debts owed by commercial businesses.
- Consumer Debt Collector License: Lets the debt collector collect debts owed by individual people.
Steps to get a Florida debt collection license
Step 1: Register your business
The first step to getting your Florida debt collection license is to register your business with the Florida Division of Corporations. You can complete the registration online using the Sunbiz web portal.
If your business plans to hire employees, you will also need to get an Employee Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Step 2: Complete a criminal background check
If you need a consumer collection agency license, you will have to authorize fingerprinting for all control persons in the business. You will also need to complete both state and federal criminal background checks.
Step 3: Get a collection agency bond
The Florida Office of Financial Regulation requires commercial collection agency license holders to get a Florida surety bond. The bonds ensure that the agency abides by all collection practices. They also provide financial protection to parties that may be damaged by the collection agency’s fraud or other malpractices.
Florida collection agency bonds have a $50,000 total bond amount. You will need to pay a small percentage of this amount as a premium to get the bond. The surety company that issues your bond determines your premium by analyzing your industry experience, finances, and credit history.
Qualified debt collectors can expect a premium rate between 0.75% and 5%.
Step 4: Submit your debt collection license application
Once you get your surety bond, the final step is to apply for your debt collection license through the Florida Office of Financial Regulation.
You can apply for both the commercial and consumer collection agency license using the Office of Regulation’s online services site.
Your application will need to include the appropriate licensing fee:
- Commercial collection agency license: $500
- Consumer collection agency license: $200
How to renew your Florida collection agency license
Florida debt collection licenses are valid for a one-year period. To keep your license active, you must complete the renewal process between October 31 and December of each year. Renewing your license will require you to pay an annual license fee: $500 for commercial agencies, $200 for consumer agencies.
You can find more details about the renewal process in the Florida Statutes.
How EZ Surety Bonds can help with a Florida debt collection license
When you’re ready to get your Florida debt collection license, EZ Surety Bonds is here to help. We provide a smooth online bonding process and can offer fast turnarounds and affordable rates for your collection agency bond.
Get your bond today or get in touch with any questions.