(a) A merchant primarily in the business of making retail consumer sales may offer check cashing services at its stores to accommodate its customers in the course of said business, and may collect a fee for the service, if the check cashing service and any fees charged are incidental to the main business of the merchant. Except as set forth in subsection (b) of this section, the term "check cashing services" does not include a transaction where a customer presents a check for the exact amount of a purchase. Fees charged in connection with check cashing services may not exceed the greater of $1, or one percent of the face value of the check cashed.
(b) Merchants may not, in connection with providing check cashing services, agree to hold checks submitted to them for deposit at a later date for the purpose of providing a loan of money and deriving profit therefrom.
(c) No license is required as a condition for a merchant providing check cashing services in conformity with subsections (a) and (b) of this section.
(d) Where a merchant derives more than five percent of his or her gross revenues from cashing checks, the check cashing services are not considered incidental to the main business of the merchant, and the merchant is required to be licensed under article two of this chapter.
(e) Persons holding a license pursuant to article two of this chapter may in conjunction with their licensed business, or other lawful business, engage in the business of check cashing in West Virginia. Fees charged for check cashing services by a licensee under article two of this chapter shall be posted and conform to those permitted merchants under this section. No licensee may in connection with providing check cashing services agree to hold checks submitted to it for deposit at a later date for the purpose of providing a loan of money and deriving profit therefrom.
(f) Federally-insured depository institutions, foreign bank agencies, and governmental entities exempt from licensure as money transmitters under this chapter are exempt from the provisions of this article. Other financial institutions licensed by and under the jurisdiction of the commissioner of banking may upon written approval engage in the check cashing business permitted merchants under this article.
(g) Except as provided or allowed by this article, no person may engage in the check cashing business. As used in this article the term "check cashing business" means any person who engages in the business of cashing checks, including drafts, money orders, or other instruments for the transmission or payment of money for a fee. However, the term "check" as used in this article does not include a travelers check or a foreign denomination check.
No merchant or person subject to this article may obstruct or refuse to permit any lawful investigation into their check cashing activities by the commissioner of banking, a person acting on behalf of an agency of the state or political subdivision thereof, or a law-enforcement officer.
(a) The charging of fees for check cashing services in excess of those permitted under this article gives rise to a cause of action by the injured party to recover twice the actual damages suffered by reason of the violation.
(b) The charging of fees for check cashing services in violation of the provisions of subsections (b) or (e), section one of this article, prohibiting lending through a check cashing transaction, constitutes prohibited finance charges, and gives rise to a cause of action by the party upon whom the charge was imposed to recover all fees paid and all actual damages suffered by reason of the violation. Where the transaction is of an amount and for purposes that would constitute a consumer loan, the conduct of impermissible check cashing services is considered an unfair and deceptive act and may be subject to provisions and penalties set forth in chapter forty-six-a of this code.
(c) Engaging in the check cashing business without the license required by this article gives rise to a cause of action by the injured party to recover all fees paid and all actual damages suffered by reason of the violation.
(d) Actions brought under this article by customers for recovery of actual damages shall be brought within one year of the occurrence of the transaction.
If any merchant or person is in violation of this article, the commissioner of banking or other appropriate law-enforcement officer may apply to the circuit court of Kanawha County or the county in which the violation occurred for an order enjoining the merchant or person from violating or continuing to violate the article, rule, or order and for injunctive or other relief that the nature of the case may require. The authority to seek injunctions under this section is cumulative with any other enforcement right accruing under other provisions of law and this code.