Record keeping requirements for money services businesses and foreign money services businesses


March 2021

This guidance comes into effect on June 1, 2021.

Money service businesses (MSBs) and foreign money services businesses (FMSBs) have record keeping requirements under the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA) and associated Regulations.

This guidance outlines certain record keeping requirements for MSBs and FMSBs. You have additional record keeping requirements that are detailed in the following guidance:

This guidance answers the following questions:

  1. What records must I keep and what must they contain?
  2. What are my responsibilities when maintaining records?
  3. What are the exceptions to the record keeping requirements?

**Note: Throughout this guidance, references to dollar amounts (such as $10,000) are in Canadian dollars.

1. What records must I keep and what must they contain?

You must keep the following records:

  1. Reports – a copy of every report sent to FINTRAC
    • Suspicious Transaction Reports
    • Terrorist Property Reports
    • Large Cash Transaction Reports
    • Large Virtual Currency Transaction Reports
    • Electronic Funds Transfer Reports
  2. Large cash transaction records
  3. Large virtual currency transaction records
  4. Records of transactions of $3,000 or more
  5. Records of remitting and transmitting $1,000 or more in funds by means other than an electronic funds transfer
  6. Records of electronic funds transfers of $1,000 or more
  7. Records of virtual currency transfers equivalent to $1,000 or more
  8. Foreign currency exchange transaction tickets
  9. Virtual currency exchange transaction tickets
  10. Created or received internal memorandums about MSB/FMSB services,
  11. Service agreement records

**Note: When you are required to keep records about clients, you should be as descriptive as possible. Being descriptive when recording the nature of the principal business or occupation of a client will help determine whether a transaction or activity is consistent with what would be expected for that client. For example, when the client's occupation is "manager", the record should reflect the area of management, such as "hotel reservations manager" or "retail clothing store manager". When an entity's principal business area is "sales", the record should specify the type of sales, such as "pharmaceutical sales" or "retail sales".

a. Reports – a copy of every report sent to FINTRAC

You must keep a copy of every report that you submit to FINTRAC as a record.

Suspicious Transaction Report

When you submit a Suspicious Transaction Report (STR) to FINTRAC, you must keep a copy of it.Footnote 1

Retention: At least five years after the day the STR was submitted.Footnote 2

Terrorist Property Report

When you submit a Terrorist Property Report (TPR) to FINTRAC, you must keep a copy of it.Footnote 3

Retention: At least five years after the day the TPR was submitted.Footnote 4

Large Cash Transaction Report

When you submit a Large Cash Transaction Report (LCTR) to FINTRAC, you must keep a copy of it.Footnote 5

Retention: At least five years from the date the LCTR was created.Footnote 6

Large Virtual Currency Transaction Report

When you submit a Large Virtual Currency Transaction Report (LVCTR) to FINTRAC, you must keep a copy of it.Footnote 7

Retention: At least five years from the date the LVCTR was created.Footnote 8

Electronic Funds Transfer Report

When you submit an Electronic Funds Transfer Report (EFTR) to FINTRAC, you must keep a copy of it.Footnote 9

Retention: At least five years from the date the EFTR was created.Footnote 10

b. Large cash transaction records

MSBs must keep a large cash transaction record when they receive $10,000 or more in cash.Footnote 11 FMSBs must keep a large cash transaction record when they receive $10,000 or more in cash from a person or an entity in Canada.Footnote 12

If you authorize a person or an entity to receive funds on your behalf, and that person or entity receives $10,000 or more in cash in accordance with the authorization, you are deemed to have received the amount when it is received by the person or entity, and you must keep a large cash transaction record.Footnote 13

**Note: This requirement is subject to the 24-hour rule.Footnote 14

A large cash transaction record must include:Footnote 15

Retention: At least five years from the date the large cash transaction record was created.Footnote 16

c. Large virtual currency transaction records

MSBs must keep a large virtual currency (VC) transaction record when they receive VC in an amount equivalent to $10,000 or more.Footnote 17 FMSBs must keep a large VC transaction record when they receive VC in an amount equivalent to $10,000 or more from a person or an entity in Canada.Footnote 18

If you authorize a person or an entity to receive VC on your behalf and that person or entity receives VC in an amount equivalent to $10,000 or more in accordance with the authorization, you are deemed to have received the VC when it is received by the person or entity, and you must keep a large VC transaction record.Footnote 19

**Note: This requirement is subject to the 24-hour rule.Footnote 20

A large VC transaction record must include:Footnote 21

Retention: At least five years from the date the large VC transaction record was created.Footnote 22

d. Records of transactions of $3,000 or more

Issuance of traveller's cheques, money orders or other similar negotiable instruments

When you receive $3,000 or more in funds or an equivalent amount in VC for the issuance of traveller's cheques, money orders or other similar negotiable instruments from a person or entity, you must record:Footnote 23

Redemption of money orders

When you redeem one or more money orders for a total value of $3,000 or more in funds or in an equivalent amount of VC at the request of a person or entity, you must record:Footnote 24

Retention: At least five years from the date the record for a transaction of $3,000 or more was created.Footnote 25

e. Records of remitting and transmitting $1,000 or more in funds by means other than an electronic funds transfer

Transmitting $1,000 or more in funds

When you transmit $1,000 or more in funds at the request of a person or an entity by means other than an electronic funds transfer (for example, by using informal value transfer systems such as Hawalas), you must record:Footnote 26

Remitting $1,000 or more in funds to a beneficiary

When you remit $1,000 or more in funds to a beneficiary at the request of a person or an entity by means other than an electronic funds transfer (for example, by using an informal value transfer systems such as Hawala), you must record:Footnote 27

Retention: At least five years from the date the record for the transmission or remittance of $1,000 or more was created.Footnote 28

f. Records of electronic funds transfers of $1,000 or more

Initiating an electronic funds transfer of $1,000 or more

When you initiate, at the request of a person or an entity, an electronic funds transfer (EFT) of $1,000 or more, you must record:Footnote 29

Sending an international EFT of $1,000 or more

When you send, as an intermediary, an international EFT of $1,000 or more that was initiated by another reporting entity, you must record:Footnote 30

Final receipt of an international EFT of $1,000 or more

When you are the final recipient of an international EFT of $1,000 or more, you must record:Footnote 31

**Note: When you initiate, send as an intermediary, or finally receive an EFT, you must include with the transfer the prescribed information in accordance with the travel rule. Please see FINTRAC's travel rule guidance for more information.

Retention: At least five years from the date the EFT record of $1,000 or more was created.Footnote 32

g. Records of virtual currency transfers in amounts equivalent to $1,000 or more

VC transfer in an amount equivalent to $1,000

When you transfer VC in an amount equivalent to $1,000 or more at the request of a person or entity, you must record:Footnote 33

Receipt of VC in an amount equivalent to $1,000 or more for remittance to a beneficiary

When you receive VC in an amount equivalent to $1,000 or more for remittance to a beneficiary, you must record:Footnote 34

**Note: When you transfer VC, you must include with the transfer the prescribed information in accordance with the travel rule. When you receive VC, you must take reasonable measures to ensure that the transfer received includes the prescribed information. Please see FINTRAC's travel rule guidance for more information

Retention: At least five years from the date the VC transfer or VC receipt record was created.Footnote 35

h. Foreign currency exchange transaction tickets

You must keep a transaction ticket, which may take the form of an entry in a transaction register, for every foreign currency exchange transaction you conduct, regardless of the amount. Each transaction ticket must include:Footnote 36

Retention: At least five years from the date the foreign exchange transaction record was created.Footnote 37

i. VC exchange transaction tickets

You must keep VC exchange transaction tickets, which may take the form of an entry in a transaction register, for every VC exchange transaction you conduct, regardless of the amount. Each transaction ticket must include:Footnote 38

Retention: At least five years from the date the VC exchange transaction record was created.Footnote 39

j. Created or received internal memorandums about MSB/FMSB services

You must keep a record of every internal memorandum (i.e. any memo, note, message or similar communication) that you create or receive in the normal course of business regarding MSB/FMSB services you provide to clients.Footnote 40

Retention: At least five years from the date the internal memorandum record was created.Footnote 41

k. Service agreement records

MSBs that enter into an agreement with an entity to provide an MSB service covered under section 5(h) of the PCMLTFA, and FMSBs that enter into an agreement with an entity in Canada to provide an FMSB service covered under section 5(h.1) of the PCMLTFA must keep a record of:Footnote 42

Retention: At least five years from the day the last transaction was conducted.Footnote 44

2. What are my responsibilities when maintaining records?

In order to comply with your record keeping requirements you must keep records in such a manner that they can be provided to FINTRAC within 30 days of a request.Footnote 45 The records may also be requested through a judicial order by law enforcement to support an investigation of money laundering or terrorist activity financing. A record (or a copy) may be kept in a machine-readable or electronic form, so long as a paper copy can easily be produced.Footnote 46

Employees who keep records for you are not required to keep them after their employment ends. The same is true for persons in a contractual relationship with you, when the contractual relationship ends, they no longer have to keep records for you.Footnote 47 You have to obtain and keep the records that were kept for you by an employee or contractor before the end of the person's employment or contract.

There may be situations where you are required to keep records for purposes other than your requirements under the PCMLTFA. For example, a federal or provincial regulator may require you to keep records in addition to those described in this guidance. If this is the case, you must still meet the requirements described in this guidance. For example, the retention period for your records can be longer than what is described, but it cannot be shorter.

3. What are the exceptions to the record keeping requirements?

If you are required to keep a record with information that is readily available in other records, you do not have to record the information again.Footnote 48

For example, when you keep a copy of a large cash transaction report (LCTR) you may choose to use this as your large cash transaction record for the same transaction, so long as all of the information that would otherwise be kept in the large cash transaction record is captured within the report. Any requirement related to keeping the large cash transaction record would still apply, such as verifying identity.

Financial entities and public bodies

You are not required to keep a large cash transaction record or a large VC transaction record if the cash or VC was received from a client that is a financial entity (FE) or a public body, or from a person who is acting on behalf of a client that is an FE or public body.Footnote 49

If you receive funds or VC in an amount equivalent to $3,000 or more from an FE, or a person who is acting on behalf of a client that is an FE, for the issuance of traveller's cheques, money orders or other similar negotiable instruments, you are not required to keep a record of the transaction.Footnote 50

Virtual currency

When you transfer or receive VC as compensation for the validation of a transaction that is recorded in a distributed ledger or when you exchange, transfer or receive a nominal amount of VC for the sole purpose of validating different transaction or a transfer of information, you do not need to keep a record of: Footnote 51

Date Modified: