Surety Bond Professionals is a family-owned and operated bonding agency with over 30 years of experience. With access to a broad range of surety markets, our expert agents are ready to assist with all of your Washington collection agency license bond needs. Learn how to get a Washington state collection agency license, below.
What Collection Agency Licenses Are Issued in Washington State?
Washington requires all individuals and business entities operating as debt collectors anywhere in the state to obtain a collection agency license. You’ll need a license even if you’re a creditor collecting your own debt using a fictitious name to do so.
Regardless of the state in which your business is domiciled, you must be licensed as a Washington debt collection agency if any of your clients (debt owners) or the debtors you’re seeking to collect from are located in Washington.
What Are the Steps in the Licensing Process?
Applications for a Washington State collection agency license are submitted (preferably online) and processed by the Washington Department of Revenue, Business Licensing Services. It’s a two-part process. The first step is to obtain a business license, and the second is to add a collection agency endorsement.
A Business Licensing Wizard on the Department of Revenue’s website walks you through a scenario that establishes what kind of license and endorsement you need. Begin the Wizard by searching for “debt” as the business activity. The fee for a collection agency endorsement for a main location in the state of Washington is $850. The fee for a branch office endorsement is $550 per branch location.
The online system will identify any additional requirements you must meet to get a business license with a collection agency endorsement, such as purchasing a $5,000 Washington collection agency license bond.
Why is a Washington Collection Agency License Bond Required?
You’re required to provide a collection agency license bond and renew it as required to maintain a valid business license. The bond serves to:
- Guarantee a debt collection agency’s compliance with Washington state debt collection laws and regulations
- Indemnify the state of Washington against liability for damages caused by an agency’s unlawful or unethical debt collection practices and activities
- Provide funds (up to $5,000 per claim) for compensating consumers who have suffered a financial loss as a result of a debt collection agency’s failure to comply with applicable laws and regulations
How Are Washington Collection Agency License Bond Claims Paid?
When you buy a Washington collection agency bond, you (the bond’s “principal”) enter into a legally binding contract with two other parties, the State of Washington (the “obligee” requiring the bond) and the surety company (known simply as the “surety”). As the principal, the legal obligation to pay valid claims against the bond rests entirely with you. However, if you can’t pay a claim promptly, the surety will make payment on your behalf and give you a little time to repay the debt.
How Much Does a Washington Collection Agency License Bond Cost?
How much you will pay for a collection agency bond in the state of Washington depends on two factors:
- The required bond amount, which is $5,000
- The premium rate the surety sets for you
The surety’s primary concern is being repaid for any claims paid on your behalf, so your premium rate will reflect the underwriters’ assessment of your creditworthiness.
With a good personal credit score, your premium rate could be as low as 1% of the $5,000 bond amount.
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Our surety bond professionals will get you the Washington state collection agency license bond you need at a competitive rate.