Almost every U.S. state requires a state license in order to transmit money into, out of or within the state. These licenses are expensive to acquire and to maintain and establish a financial barrier of entry.
Licensing requirements include the following considerations:
- applicant’s financial condition
- applicant’s net worth
- amount of business for the previous year
- anticipated business for the upcoming year
The cost of acquiring a license average more than U.S. $175,000 per state and the annual renewal fees on average are more than U.S. $135,000.
In addition to the various state requirements, money transmitters must also register with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the U.S. Department of Treasury. Registration is valid for two years before it needs to be renewed. Money transmitters must use the BSA E-Filing System to submit initial registration forms and renewals. There are both civil and criminal penalties for money services businesses that do not register with FinCEN.
In effect, these regulations help to validate the worthiness of the companies that acquire the money transmitter license. Given the financial investment and the corporate strength in order to acquire the licenses, companies that are granted licenses achieve a degree of credibility.
It is believed that it is more difficult for foreign companies to acquire these licenses. However, given Canada’s highly developed, regulated and structured financial industry, Canadian-based companies are afforded a strong reputation internationally.
One Canadian, publicly traded company, First Global Data Inc. (traded as v.fgd on the TMX) is an international financial services technology (“FINTECH”) company. The Company’s two main lines of business are mobile payments and cross border payments. First Global’s proprietary leading edge technology enables the convergence of compliant domestic and cross border payments, shopping, Peer to Peer (“P2P”), Business to Consumer (“B2C”), and Business to Business (“B2B”) payments. First Global enables its strategic partners and clients around the world with our leading edge financial services technology platform.
First Global Data (www.firstglobaldata.com), according to their most recent press release, has acquired 31 money transmitter licenses. “We continue our focus on US wide licensing as the more State licenses First Global has, the larger the market opportunity for our services such as Happy Transfer launched on the WeChat social messaging platform with our China-based partner LianLian; for the Company’s First Global Money international remittances services which delivers into Latin America, India, the Philippines and other very large markets; for domestic USA peer to peer and mobile payment services; and for additional cross border payment services the Company intends to provide to consumers across the USA”, said Andre Itwaru, Chairman and CEO of First Global Data Limited.
This company is positioned to strategically take advantage of Canada’s financial industry reputation, leveraging our access to the U.S. market and bridging it with Asian demand. With a stock price at under CDN$0.30, I’m curious to see the value of the users it has acquired through partnerships. With Canadian Schedule A banks paying thousands of dollars for credit card customer acquisitions, this company’s value might already be well beyond its stock price.
See related post: First Global Data Appoints Top Notch CFO