The world of finance is vast and complex, but one essential component that facilitates financial transactions in Canada is the Money Services Business (MSB). The term MSB may sound unfamiliar to some, but their services play a crucial role in the day-to-day lives of Canadians.

Definition and Services Provided

A Money Services Business in Canada is a company that provides a range of financial services, often focused on facilitating transactions and remittance. According to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), MSBs are subject to regulation and must be registered with FINTRAC. Some of the core services provided by MSBs in Canada include:

Currency exchange: Converting one currency into another for customers.

Money transfers: Facilitating the movement of funds from one location to another, both domestically and internationally. Issuing or redeeming money orders, traveler’s cheques, or other similar negotiable instruments.

Check cashing: Cashing checks for customers for a fee.

Regulatory Landscape

As mentioned earlier, MSBs in Canada are regulated by FINTRAC, a government agency responsible for detecting, preventing, and deterring money laundering and terrorist financing activities. MSBs must follow specific guidelines and regulations to ensure the safety and security of their clients’ financial transactions. These regulations include:

Registration: MSBs must be registered with FINTRAC and renew their registration every two years.

Record-keeping: MSBs are required to maintain records of certain transactions and client information for a minimum of five years.

Reporting: MSBs must report specific transactions, such as large cash transactions and electronic fund transfers, to FINTRAC.

Compliance program: MSBs must implement a comprehensive compliance program, including risk assessments, policies and procedures, training programs, and periodic reviews.

These are just a few of the regulations that MSBs must comply with. If you need help understanding the regulations and compliance requirements, or how to get MSB licence in Canada, consult with a financial services lawyer.

The Importance of MSBs

Money Services Businesses play an integral part in the Canadian economy by providing accessible financial services to individuals and businesses. They often cater to the needs of customers who may not have access to traditional banking services, such as newcomers to Canada, small businesses, and those in remote areas. Furthermore, MSBs provide a convenient and cost-effective way for customers to conduct financial transactions, such as sending money to family members abroad or exchanging currency before traveling.


Money Services Businesses in Canada are essential players in the financial landscape, providing a range of services that cater to the diverse needs of Canadians. They operate under strict regulations set by FINTRAC, ensuring the safety and security of their customers’ financial transactions. As the world becomes more connected and the demand for accessible financial services grows, MSBs will continue to play a vital role in the Canadian economy.

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