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:

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