How to obtain an MSB license in Canada

How to obtain an MSB license in Canada

Canadian economy is one of the most favorable for those having business in the financial sector. It has…

Canadian economy is one of the most favorable for those having business in the financial sector. It has to do with taxes, property rights, and bureaucracy. Your company can provide financial services in Canada as well, but only after you get permission. In this case, it is the MSB (MSO) license we are going to talk about. 

How to obtain Canada payment license

Money Service Business (MSB / MSO) is a financial body — not a banking one — that enables to carry out the financial activity.  


  • Currency exchange
  • Issuance/redemption of travel receipts, money transfers, or banking expenses
  • Check cashing
  • Trading/exchange of virtual currency
  • Trading acquiring

MSB (MSO) analogues, or what’s the difference between MSB and FMSB?

Those looking for information on the Canadian license are sure to face the FMSB license. The difference between MSB and FMSB is not significant, though still exists. When obtaining FMSB the main condition is your company physical presence beyond the Canadian territory, unlike those applying for the MSB license. At the same time, the financial services must be provided to Canadian citizens, and the domain name must include «.ca». The difficulty is that under FMSB you still have to hire a local CEO to simplify the interaction. One of the fundamental distinctions states: while having the MSB license, the company can carry out the activity and provide services all over the world, but the foreign corporation having the FMSB license has the right to function solely on the Canadian territory. 

Who can obtain Canada MSB (MSO) license and how? 

Only Canadian companies can apply for the MSB license. It follows that besides the work permit, the legal entity must be established in Canada. Otherwise, the MSB license will be unavailable and the only option remaining will be FMSB. MSB is controlled by FINTRAC, Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, which verifies documentation and decides on the license application. To obtain the MBS, a package of papers must be prepared, that will further play a key role in your license approval. 

The package of documents includes: 

  • Bank account data
  • Compliance manager information
  • Staff and organization body data
  • Corporate documentation
  • Canadian legal address
  • Detailed information on the business owners and CEO
  • Assessment of the number and sum of transactions a year
  • Policies and compliance procedure
  • Assessment and risk reduction strategies
How long should I wait for MSB?

The procedure of review of the package of papers mentioned above in FINTRAC takes three weeks on average, provided that no adjustments or additional documents are required. You should thoroughly study Canadian law in order to reduce the risk of decline.  

An alternative solution is to address our specialists who are familiar with the specifications of a given jurisdiction. You can thus save time and minimize the chances of delay in considering the license application. 

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