The difference between money services businesses and foreign money services businesses

If you offer certain services to the public, you could be a money services business (MSB) or a foreign money services business (FMSB) and be subject to the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act.

What criteria distinguishes an MSB from an FMSB?

Money services businesses (MSB)

  • 1. You offer one or more of the following services to the public
    • Foreign exchange dealing
    • Remitting or transmitting funds
    • Issuing or redeeming money order or similar negotiable instruments
    • Dealing in virtual currency
  • 2. You have a place of business in Canada
    • You are incorporated in Canada;
    • You have a physical location in Canada; or,
    • You have employees, agents or branches in Canada.

Foreign money services businesses (FMSB)

  • 1. You offer one or more of the following services to the public
    • Foreign exchange dealing
    • Remitting or transmitting funds
    • Issuing or redeeming money order or similar negotiable instruments
    • Dealing in virtual currency
  • 2. You DO NOT have a place of business in Canada
    • You are not incorporated in Canada;
    • You do not have a physical location in Canada; or,
    • You do not have employees, agents or branches in Canada.
  • 3. You direct services at persons or entities in Canada.

    For example:

    • Your business’s marketing or advertising is directed at persons or entities located in Canada;
    • Your business operates a ".ca" domain name;
    • Your business is listed in a Canadian business directory.
  • 4. You provide these services to clients in Canada.

    For example:

    • Your client’s address is in Canada;
    • The document or information used to verify the client’s identity is issued by a Canadian province or territory, or by the federal government
    • Your client’s banking, credit card or payment processing service is based in Canada.

Who is not a money services business (MSB)?

You are not an MSB if:

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