California Civil Code Section 1789.30-1789.37
1789.30. Every check casher, as applicable to the services
provided, shall post a complete, detailed, and unambiguous schedule
of all fees for (a) cashing checks, drafts, money orders, or other
commercial paper serving the same purpose and making any deferred
deposit thereof, (b) the sale or issuance of money orders, and (c)
the initial issuance of any identification card. Each check casher
shall also post a list of valid identification which is acceptable in
lieu of identification provided by the check casher. The
information required by this section shall be clear, legible, and in
letters not less than one-half inch in height. The information shall
be posted in a conspicuous location in the unobstructed view of the
public within the check casher's premises.
1789.31. (a) As used in this title, a "check casher" means a person
or entity that for compensation engages, in whole or in part, in the
business of cashing checks, warrants, drafts, money orders, or other
commercial paper serving the same purpose. "Check casher" does not
include a state or federally chartered bank, savings association,
credit union, or industrial loan company. "Check casher" also does
not include a retail seller engaged primarily in the business of
selling consumer goods, including consumables, to retail buyers that
cashes checks or issues money orders for a minimum flat fee not
exceeding two dollars ($2) as a service to its customers that is
incidental to its main purpose or business.
(b) As used in this title, "deferred deposit" means a transaction
whereby the check casher refrains from depositing a personal check
written by a customer until a specific date, pursuant to a written
agreement, as provided in Section 1789.33.
1789.32. Failure to post information as required by this title, or
the imposition of fees or identification requirements contrary to the
information posted, shall constitute an unfair business practice
within the meaning of Section 17200 of the Business and Professions
1789.33. (a) A check casher may defer the deposit of a personal
check written by a customer for up to 30 days, pursuant to the
provisions of this section. The face amount of the check shall not
exceed three hundred dollars ($300). Each deferred deposit shall be
made pursuant to a written agreement that has been signed by the
customer and by the check casher or an authorized representative of
the check casher. The written agreement shall contain a statement of
the total amount of any fees charged for the deferred deposit,
expressed both in United States currency and as an annual percentage
rate (APR). The written agreement shall authorize the check casher
to defer deposit of the personal check until a specific date not
later than 30 days from the date the written agreement was signed and
executed. The written agreement shall not permit the check casher
to accept collateral.
(b) A customer who enters into a deferred deposit agreement and
offers a personal check to a check casher pursuant to that agreement
shall not be subject to any criminal penalty for the failure to
comply with the terms of that agreement.
1789.35. (a) A check casher shall not charge a fee for cashing a
payroll check or government check in excess of 3 percent if
identification is provided by the customer, or 3.5 percent without
the provision of identification, of the face amount of the check, or
three dollars ($3), whichever is greater. Identification, for
purposes of this section, is limited to a California driver's
license, a California identification card, or a valid United States
military identification card.
(b) A check casher may charge a fee of no more than ten dollars
($10) to set up an initial account and issue an optional
identification card for providing check cashing services. A
replacement optional identification card may be issued at a cost not
to exceed five dollars ($5).
(c) A check casher shall provide a receipt to the customer for
(d) Subject to the limitations of Section 1789.33, a check casher
may charge a fee for cashing a personal check, as posted pursuant to
Section 1789.30, for immediate deposit in an amount not to exceed 12
percent of the face value of the check, or for deferred deposit in
an amount not to exceed 15 percent of the face value of the check.
(e) A check casher shall not enter into an agreement for a
deferred deposit with a customer during the period of time that an
earlier written agreement for a deferred deposit for the same
customer is in effect.
(f) A check casher who enters into a deferred deposit agreement
and accepts a check passed on insufficient funds, or any assignee of
that check casher, shall not be entitled to recover damages in any
action brought pursuant to, or governed by, Section 1719.
(g) For a transaction pursuant to Section 1789.33, a fee not to
exceed fifteen dollars ($15) may be charged for the return of a
dishonored check by a depositary institution. The fee may be
collected by a check casher who holds a valid permit issued pursuant
to Section 1789.37, when acting under the authority of that permit.
(h) No amount in excess of the amounts authorized by this section
shall be directly or indirectly charged by a check casher pursuant to
a deferred deposit agreement.
(i) Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be
liable for a civil penalty not to exceed two thousand dollars
($2,000) for each violation, which shall be assessed and recovered in
a civil action brought in the name of the people of the State of
California by the Attorney General in any court of competent
jurisdiction. Any action brought pursuant to this subdivision shall
be commenced within four years of the date on which the act or
transaction upon which the action is based occurred.
(j) A willful violation of this section is a misdemeanor.
(k) Any person who is injured by any violation of this section may
bring an action for the recovery of damages, an equity proceeding to
restrain and enjoin those violations, or both. The amount awarded
may be up to three times the damages actually incurred, but in no
event less than the amount paid by the aggrieved consumer to a person
subject to this section. If the plaintiff prevails, the plaintiff
shall be awarded reasonable attorney's fees and costs. If a court
determines by clear and convincing evidence that a breach or
violation was willful, the court, in its discretion, may award
punitive damages in addition to the amounts set forth above.
1789.37. (a) Every owner of a check casher's business shall obtain
a permit from the Department of Justice to conduct a check casher's
(b) All applications for a permit to conduct a check casher's
business shall be filed with the department in writing, signed by the
applicant if an individual or by a member or officer authorized to
sign if the applicant is a corporation or other entity, and shall
state the name of the business, the type of business engaged in,
whether the applicant intends to enter into deferred deposit
agreements, and the business address. Each applicant shall be
(c) Each applicant for a permit to conduct a check casher's
business shall pay a fee not to exceed the cost of processing the
application, fingerprinting the applicant, and checking or obtaining
the criminal record of the applicant, at the time of filing the
(d) Each applicant shall annually, beginning one year from the
date of issuance of a check casher's permit, file an application for
renewal of the permit with the department, along with payment of a
renewal fee not to exceed the cost of processing the application for
renewal and checking or obtaining the criminal record of the
(e) The department shall deny an application for a permit to
conduct a check casher's business, or for renewal of a permit, if the
applicant has a felony conviction involving dishonesty, fraud, or
deceit, provided the crime is substantially related to the
qualifications, functions, or duties of a person engaged in the
business of check cashing.
(f) The department shall adopt regulations to implement this
section, and shall determine the amount of the application fees
required by this section. The department shall prescribe forms for
the applications and permit required by this section, which shall be
uniform throughout the state.
(g) In any action brought by a city attorney or district attorney
to enforce a violation of this section, any owner of a check casher's
business who engages in the business of check cashing without
holding a current and valid permit issued by the department pursuant
to this section is subject to a civil penalty, as follows:
(1) For the first offense, not more than one thousand dollars
(2) For the second offense, not more than five thousand dollars
(h) Any person who has twice been found in violation of
subdivision (g) and who, within 10 years of the date of the first
offense, engages in the business of check cashing without holding a
current and valid permit issued by the department pursuant to this
section is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in the
county jail not exceeding six months, or by a fine not exceeding five
thousand dollars ($5,000), or by both.
(i) All civil penalties, forfeited bail, or fines received by any
court pursuant to this section shall, as soon as practicable after
the receipt thereof, be deposited with the county treasurer of the
county in which the court is situated. Fines and forfeitures so
deposited shall be disbursed pursuant to the Penal Code. Civil
penalties so deposited shall be paid at least once a month as
(1) Fifty percent to the Treasurer by warrant of the county
auditor drawn upon the requisition of the clerk or judge of the
court, to be deposited in the State Treasury on order of the
(2) Fifty percent to the city treasurer of the city, if the
offense occurred in a city, otherwise to the treasurer of the county
in which the prosecution is conducted.
Any money deposited in the State Treasury under this section which
is determined by the Controller to have been erroneously deposited
therein shall be refunded, subject to approval of the State Board of
Control prior to the payment of the refund, out of any money in the
State Treasury which is available by law for that purpose.
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