Debt Collection Agency

Debt Collection Agency License Application Checklist

COVID-19 ALERT

For health and safety reasons, the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Licensing Center and NYC Small Business Support Center cannot serve walk-ins, but you can schedule an appointment to submit your license application in person. See Application Filing Process section.

Note: As in-person service is limited, we encourage you to use our online service which is available 24/7.

Who Must Have a Debt Collection Agency License?

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, including outside of New York State. This licensing requirement includes:

  • Attorneys and law firms who regularly engage in activities traditionally performed by debt collectors
  • “Debt buyers,” businesses that buy debt and then try to collect money directly or through the services of another

This description is only a general explanation of which businesses need to have a Debt Collection Agency license. You may refer to New York City Administrative Code Section 20-489 for a complete description

Attention: Attorneys and Law Firms
As a result of the resolution of Eric M. Berman P.C. v. City of New York, 09-cv-3017, slip op. at 1 (E.D.N.Y. February 3, 2016) (order dismissing the case), you or your law firm may require a Debt Collection Agency license from DCA.

For more information, read DCA’s October 2016 notice.

Quick List of Requirements to Apply for a Debt Collection Agency License

See Requirements section for detailed descriptions. Make sure you provide all requirements; otherwise, your application is incomplete. DCWP can only consider complete applications for license issuance.

  • Basic License Application
  • Debt Collection Agency Licensing & Renewal Supplement
  • Debt Collection / Child Support form (if applicable)
  • Debt Collection Agency Non-Resident Form (if applicable)
  • Granting Authority to Act Affirmation (if applicable)
  • License Fee

Submitting your application does not mean your license is automatically approved.

Important Message about Business Certificate

You must have the applicable Business Certificate based on your business’s legal structure. Although DCWP does not require submission of your Business Certificate in order to process your application, DCWP may request this document under section 20-104 of the New York City Administrative Code.

Sole proprietors operating under a name other than your own must have a Business/Assumed Name Certificate.

Partnerships must have a Partnership Certificate and, if applicable, an Assumed Name Certificate for your business.

Corporations, Limited Partnerships, Limited Liability Companies, or Limited Liability Partnerships must register and remain active with the New York State Division of Corporations. You can check your status at dos.ny.gov/corps.

Requirements

DCWP will deny your application if you do not submit these required documents and information:

  • Basic License Application.
    Online submission: After reviewing the requirements, please click the Apply Online link at the bottom of the page to submit your application.
    In-person submission: Download the Basic License Application.
  • Sales Tax Identification Number OR Application Confirmation Number.
    To apply for a Certificate of Authority in order to collect sales tax, visit businessexpress.ny.gov.
  • Debt Collection Agency – Licensing & Renewal Supplement (download)
    You must complete and affirm the information provided on this form.
  • 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:
    1. 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).
    2. 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).
    3. 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. For reference, Download a list of bonding companies.
  • 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.
  • Granting Authority to Act Affirmation, if applicable (download Affirmation).
    Required if someone other than the license applicant will prepare and submit this application.
    Note: The applicant must sign the license application and all related forms.
  • License Fee.
    License Period: 2 years | Expiration Date: January 31, Odd Years.
If You File Your Application Between These Dates: License Fee Option 1 License Fee Option 2
From February 1 in an odd year to July 31 in an odd year Pay $150 for a license expiring January 31 of the next odd year. (Valid for at most 24 months.) N/A
From August 1 in an odd year to January 31 in an even year Pay $113 for a license expiring January 31 of the next odd year. (Valid for at most 18 months.) N/A
From February 1 in an even year to July 31 in and even year Pay $75for a license expiring January 31 of the next odd year. (Valid for at most 12 months.) N/A
From August 1 in an even year to January 31 in an odd year Pay $38 for a license expiring January 31 of the soonest or same odd year. (Valid for at most 6 months.) Pay $188 for a license expiring January 31 of the following odd year. (Valid for at most 30 months.)

 
Pay by:

○ Check or money order payable to DCWP. (In person)
○ Credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover Card only).
  You will be charged a nonrefundable Convenience Fee. (In person or online)

Application Filing Process

File Online

  1. Review requirements and gather all materials before clicking the button below. The online service is available using a laptop or desktop computer only.
  2. If you haven’t registered an account with the City of New York, you will need to register an account before you can proceed to the online application.
  3. After you submit the online application, follow the instructions on the confirmation page. DCWP cannot process incomplete applications.
  4. Important: If you need to file another license application, return to the Apply for a DCWP License page to read requirements and proceed to the next online application.

Apply Online Button

OR

File In Person
Schedule an appointment to file in person at the DCWP Licensing Center or NYC Small Business Support Center

DCWP LICENSING CENTER
42 Broadway, Lobby
New York, NY 10004

By Appointment Only Hours:
Monday, Wednesday: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Last appointment: 3:30 p.m.
NYC SMALL BUSINESS SUPPORT CENTER
90-27 Sutphin Blvd, 4th Floor
Jamaica, NY 11435

By Appointment Only Hours:
Tuesday, Thursday: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Last appointment: 3:30 p.m.

 
By Email: LicensingAppointments@dca.nyc.gov
By Phone*: Call (212) 436-0441. (Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.)

*This number is to schedule an appointment for in-person service only. For general questions, email onlineappsdocs@dca.nyc.gov.

Free Interpretation Services are available on-site. To request a disability-related accommodation, please email DCWP’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Coordinator at humancapital@dca.nyc.gov or visit our Accommodations page.

Additional Resources for Debt Collection Agencies

  • For resources to help your business open, operate, and grow, visit nyc.gov/business.

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