In the United States, a currency transaction report (CRT) is a document that is filed each time that any financial transaction over the amount of $10,000.00 US Dollars (USD) takes place. The transaction can involve financial instruments such as domestic currency, coin, silver certificates and foreign currency. Checks and funds transfers backed with currency are also subject to the filing of this report.
The creation of the currency transaction report took place after the passage of the Bank Secrecy Act in 1970. Designed to protect financial institutions from liability when reporting a suspicious transaction to federal authorities, the report made it mandatory for all banks to report basic details of any transaction over a certain amount. Initially, the format included a box that could be checked if the bank believed something was amiss with the transaction.
Prior to the extensive use of desktop computers and Internet access in the daily operation of banks, the currency transaction report was completed manually. Since the 1990s, reports are generated by software systems as the transaction is completed and posted to the customer account. The report generation occurs in real time, with the system pulling necessary data on file from the client database.
Banks routinely inform customers when a currency transaction report is filed on any given transaction. However, banks usually do not mention the $10,000.00 USD threshold unless the customer specifically asks about it. In the event that a customer chooses to amend the transaction to a lower amount, the bank is required to file what is known as a Suspicious Activity Report, and detail the activity.
For the most part, legitimate customers have no problem with the filing of this report. However, financial reports often do present a problem for persons who are engaged in money laundering and other illegal activities. As a deterrent to unlawful financial activity, the CRT stands as an example of a financial report that accomplishes the purpose for its use and design.