WA State Licensing: Collection agencies

Collection agencies

A Collection Agencies endorsement is required if your business involves collecting a debt on behalf of a debt owner, or collecting a debt you have purchased from another person ('debt buyer,' see definition), and either you, the debtor, or the debt owner is located in Washington, you must be licensed in Washington.

  • Apply for a Collection Agency endorsement if:
    • Your main office is in Washington State, or
    • Your main office is outside of Washington State and you have, or plan to have, clients located in Washington State.
  • Apply for an Out-of-State Collection Agency endorsement if:
    • Your main office and all branch offices are located outside of Washington State,
    • You don’t have any clients located in Washington State, and
    • You’re contacting debtors in Washington State who owe money to your out-of-state clients.

Note: The law clarifies that collection agency licensees are prohibited from engaging in the unauthorized practice of law. See Department of Licensing for more information.

Requirements

  • To get a Collection Agency endorsement, you must:
    • Get a trust account.
    • Maintain an office in Washington State, managed by a Washington resident.
  • You cannot begin business activity until you receive a Business License listing the required endorsement.
  • Washington is a closed-border state. You must have a license before contacting debtors or soliciting clients in Washington.

Post your license

A license must be posted at each location where the licensee operates. You may not begin this business activity until you receive a Business License listing the required endorsement(s).

How to apply

Apply by using one of the following options:

  • Online with My DOR. My DOR works best with Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.

    1. Login using your Secure Access Washington (SAW) user ID. If you don’t have a user ID or aren’t sure, see if you have an account first before signing up.
    2. Once logged in, add My DOR to your list of services, then open My DOR.
    3. Follow the steps below based on your business status.

      If you do not have an existing business

      1. Click File Business License Application. Be sure to select the endorsements for which you wish to apply.

      If you have an existing business

      1. If you haven’t already, add access to your business. You’ll need a UBI number and letter ID.
      2. Click on the business you want to apply for a license/endorsement under, then click on the location.
      3. Click Add License Endorsements/Employees.
  • You can pay using an E–check or a major credit card (gift cards can’t be used).


    Find more help for using My DOR, including video tutorials.


  • By mail
    1. Complete the following:


    2. Mail your completed forms with a check or money order payable to “Department of Revenue” for the fees to:


      State of Washington
      Business Licensing Service
      PO Box 9034
      Olympia, WA 98507-9034

Fees

Specialty endorsement Fee
Main office $850
Main office re-registration (license expired over 30 days) $1,325
Branch office* $550
Branch office re-registration* (license expired over 30 days) $850
Other fees that may apply Fee
Business License Application $19 (non-refundable)

Regulatory questions

Department of Licensing
Collection Agencies Licensing Program
Phone: 360-664-1388
Fax: 360-570-7053
Email: Collect@dol.wa.gov