What is the Currency Transaction Report?

Considering the function of financial institutions, it is crucial to understand a currency transaction report's concept and purpose, also known as CTR. CTR is a report made by United States financial institutions regarding all transactions that involve sums of money equal to or greater than $10,000. These reports are presented to FinCEN, and they involve all sorts of transactions. Regarding currency transaction reports, the definition of currency includes coin and paper money legally issued by a country.

Purpose of Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs)

As currency transaction reports evolve, they become more efficient and technologically advanced. For example, most financial institutions now have programs that automatically create CTRs when over $10,000 are completed. Generally, the software fills in most of the information regarding the client, and employees now have the option of specifying on the form according to levels of suspicion.

History of Currency Transaction Reports

Since the option to mark transactions as suspicious was added in 1996, it has aided in revolutionizing financial institutions and the government's combat against financial crimes and money laundering. Before its accrual, financial institutions had to make an official phone call to legal enforcement to look at a transaction. Naturally, these institutions were concerned about their customers' privacy, and they did not want to be held liable for releasing any information to the public. But, with the creation of the Money Laundering Control Act in 1986, privacy no longer became an issue. This meant that the government could eventually add the “suspicious transaction” and sending it to the top of CTRs without worrying about institutions potentially being liable.

If a customer finds out that a CTR has been filed and then chooses to end the transaction, a bank employee must fill out a suspicious activity report (SAR).

The Bank is not obliged to inform the customer of the reporting to be made at the time of the suspicious transaction. If the customer wishes to cancel the transaction due to the report, the Bank must still complete the suspicious activity report.