DEBT COLLECTION AGENCY (122)
DCA Licensing Center
42 Broadway, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10004
For more information, call 311 (or 212-NEW-YORK outside of New York City).
Businesses whose principal purpose is to regularly collect or to attempt to collect personal or household debts from New York City residents must have a Debt Collection Agency license no matter where the agency is located. This licensing requirement includes “debt buyers,” businesses that buy overdue debt, and then try to collect money, directly or through the services of another, including by taking consumers to court.
This description is only a general explanation of which businesses need to have a Debt Collection Agency license. You may refer to Administrative Code Section 20-489 for a complete description.
Attention: Attorneys and Law Firms
As a result of a recent court decision in Eric M. Berman P.C. v. City of New York, No. 09-cv-3017 (E.D.N.Y. Sept. 29, 2012), law firms whose activities are supervised by an attorney currently registered with the New York State Unified Court System to practice law in New York State are not currently required to be licensed as a Debt Collection Agency by the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA).
Law firms whose activities are not supervised by an attorney currently registered with the New York State Unified Court System are required to be licensed as a Debt Collection Agency by DCA. By submitting a license application, a firm agrees that it is a debt collection agency subject to DCA’s regulatory and enforcement authority.
DCA is taking steps to appeal the Berman decision. DCA will continue to vigorously protect consumers from illegal debt collection practices.
Please note that businesses are responsible for knowing and complying with all relevant federal, state and City laws and rules, including the Consumer Protection Law and Rules and any City Council amendments to the City Laws. For convenience, current sections of the New York City Licensing Law and Rules and Consumer Protection Law are included as a downloadable handout.
The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) is not responsible for errors or omissions in the handout. The information is not legal advice. You can only obtain legal advice from a lawyer.
Before You File Your DCA License Application:
You must obtain the following required documents before filing your application. Although DCA does not require submission of these documents in order to process your application in person or online, DCA reserves the right to request and examine the documents under section 20-104 of the New York City Administrative Code.
- Applicable Business Certificates Based on Your Business’s Legal Structure.
- Sole Proprietorships operating under a name other than your own must file a Business/Assumed Name Certificate with the clerk of the county in which your business is conducted.
- Sole Proprietorships doing business under your own name—and not under a trade or Doing-Business-As (DBA) name—do not need a Business Certificate.
- General/Business Partnerships must file your Partnership Certificate with the clerk of the county in which your business is conducted.
- Corporations, Limited Partnerships, Limited Liability Companies, or Limited Liability Partnerships must register and remain active with the New York State Department of State. Active status will be verified by DCA prior to license issuance. You can confirm the status of your business entity at http://www.dos.ny.gov/corps/bus_entity_search.html. If applicable, you must also file an Assumed Name Certificate for your business.
- Businesses incorporated out of state must obtain a Certificate of Doing Business in Good Standing from your home state’s Secretary of State and file this with an application for Authority to Conduct Business in New York with the New York State Secretary of State.
When You File Your DCA License Application:
Below are requirements when filing your license application:
- Basic License Application (download).
Online submission: After reviewing the application requirements, please click the Apply Online link at the bottom of the Web page to submit your application.
In-person submission: Download the Basic License Application Form (in PDF)
- Debt Collection Agency – Licensing & Renewal Supplement (download).
You must complete and affirm the information provided on this form. If you fail to submit this form, your application will be denied.
- Debt Collection/Child Support Form (download).
- You must complete the Debt Collection/Child Support Form to indicate whether your business will collect child support payment debts within New York City. If your business will collect child support payment debts, you must submit the following documents:
- Copy of the disclosure form used by the Debt Collection Agency in New York City.
This form has all of the disclosure terms required under New York City Administrative Code § 20-494.1 (e).
- Copy of the standard contract for child support payment debt collection services used by the Debt Collection Agency in New York City.
This form has all of the contract terms required under New York City Administrative Code § 20-492 (c).
- Copy of your $5,000 Surety Bond, properly signed.
The copy of the bond must name the City of New York as the Certificate Holder. Your corporate name, Doing-Business-As (DBA) name (if any), and premises address must be exactly the same on all documents. You must also submit a copy of the bond receipt showing that the bond has been paid in full and does not expire before the end of the licensing period.
Download a list of bonding companies. The companies listed have provided bonds for licensees, or have communicated to the Department of Consumer Affairs an interest in doing so. This attachment must not be considered a recommendation of any company, or a complete listing. All applicants are advised to investigate and compare these and other bonding companies. Some companies may provide only certain types of bonds. Companies are listed in alphabetical order.
- Debt Collection Agency Non-Resident Form (download).
If your business is NOT located within New York City, you must complete and submit the attached Debt Collection Agency Non-Resident form.
- Child Support Certification Form (download).
If your business is a SOLE PROPRIETORSHIP or GENERAL or LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, the proprietor or each individual general partner must submit a Child Support Certification Form.
- Granting Authority to Act Affirmation (download).
If this application will be filed by someone other than the license applicant, the license applicant must submit a Granting Authority to Act Affirmation.
- License Fee.
Must be paid by credit card, money order, or check. Cards accepted at the DCA Licensing Center include MasterCard, American Express, and Discover Card. Credit card payments are subject to a 2.49% convenience fee. Checks or money orders must be payable to NYC Department of Consumer Affairs. The chart on the next page lists the amount due depending upon when your license application is filed. Note: An odd year is any year ending in an odd digit; for example, 2013, 2015, etc. An even year is any year ending in an even digit; for example, 2014, 2016, etc.
Please note that convenience fees apply if you submit your license application online. A major credit card is required to submit applications online.
|DEBT COLLECTION AGENCY LICENSE|
|License Term:||License Expiration Date||If You File Your Application Between These Dates:||Your License Fee is:|
|2 years||January 31|
|From February 1 in an odd year to July 31 in an odd year||$150|
| || ||From August 1 in an odd year to January 31 in an even year||$113|
| || ||From February 1 in an even year to July 31 in and even year||$75|
| || ||From August 1 in an even year to January 31 in an odd year||$38|
*Note: If you are applying for the license between August 1 in an even year and January 31 in an odd year, you can pay the prorated fee for the license period about to end ($38) PLUS the fee for the new two-year license period ($150), for a total of $188. If you pay both fees, you will not need to renew the license until January 31 of the next odd year.
Online Applicants: If you submit your license application online between August 1 in an even year and January 31 in an odd year, you will be required to pay the combined fee totaling $188. You will not need to renew the license until January 31 of the next odd year.
Please make sure that you have reviewed and recorded the information required to submit a license application online before clicking the button below.
After submitting the application form online, please follow the instructions on the printed confirmation page. DCA cannot process your license application until you complete all requirements.
You can file an application in person at the DCA Licensing Center, 42 Broadway, 5th floor, in Manhattan between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday.