The Currency Exchange Section administers the Currency Exchange Act, which charges DFI with the regulation of the currency exchange industry. DFI currently licenses over 475 community currency exchanges and 100 ambulatory currency exchanges. The licensing procedure together with the mandated annual examinations guarantees that all Illinois currency exchanges adhere to the high standards established by the State. These currency exchanges not only cash checks but also provide a number of other services.

A Currency Exchange License is required for businesses that offer as their primary service the cashing of checks and selling money orders for a fee as well as engaging in similar activities. Licenses are issued on the basis of a "Need of Community" investigation. The Department will assess whether the community needs the proposed currency exchange and the effect it will have on the financial stability of existing currency exchanges. Licenses are valid for one year and may be renewed. A separate license is required for each exchange.