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In Texas, credit-repair businesses are considered to be credit services organizations (CSOs) and fall under the jurisdiction of the Texas Secretary of State. This information is accurate as of January 2010 and may be subject to change at a later date.
According to the Texas secretary of state website, credit service organizations are governed by Chapter 393 of the Finance Code and the rules in the Texas Administrative Code Chapter 74. They provide services to consumers in the areas of improving a credit history or rating, obtaining an extension of credit or consulting with consumers regarding their credit history
The Finance Code requires that an applicant fill out a registration form (Number 2801) and provide proof of security. Each registration will be valid for one year and may be renewed.
Individuals or companies wanting to start a CSO in Texas are free to do so, pending approval by the secretary of state and purchase of security monies. Banks, savings associations, credit unions, nonprofit organizations, licensed attorneys, mortgage brokers and real estate brokers are exempt from this requirement and are not obliged to register with the secretary of state.
The fee for a certificate of registration is $100, which should be made out to the Texas secretary of state. If the CSO has multiple locations, a fee of $15 will be charged for each additional location.
When its consumers will pay in advance or be charged in advance, a CSO must provide a $10,000 surety bond for each location it operates. The surety must be in favor of the State of Texas for the benefit of any person damaged by violation of the Finance Code mentioned above.
Marie Brannon has been a freelance writer both in print and online since 1995. She earned a B.S. in education from the University of Houston and has written for the "Pearland Journal," the "Friendswood Journal," Suite101, "Artisan" magazine, the "Parham Report" and the "Houston Heights Tribune."