Administration and Regulatory Affairs

Credit Access Business (Payday and Car Title Lenders)

Full Text: Ordinance No. 2013-1163 Chapter 28, Article XV

On December 18, 2013, Houston City Council amended Chapter 28 of the Code of Ordinances relating to Consumer Protection and Regulation of Credit Access Businesses to include credit access businesses – more commonly known as payday and motor vehicle title lenders.

As of July 1, 2014, the City of Houston now requires Credit Access Businesses: 

  • Register annually
  • To maintain a complete set of records of all consumer credit extensions issued or obtained by consumers.
  • To maintain a written agreement between the credit access business and a consumer showing an extension of consumer credit including refinancing or renewal.
  • To maintain copies of all quarterly reports filed under Texas Consumer Credit Commissioner.
  • May not exceed 20 percent of consumer’s gross monthly income when issuing an extension of consumer credit in the form of deferred presentment.
  • May not exceed the lesser of 3 percent of consumer’s gross annual income or 70 percent of the retail value of the motor vehicle when issuing an extension of consumer credit in the form of a motor vehicle title loan.
  • Repayments in installments may not be payable in more than four installments and any extension of consumer credit that provides for repayment in installments may not be refinanced or renewed.
  • Any extension of consumer credit for a single lump sum repayment may not be refinanced or renewed more than three times.
  • Any extension of consumer credit made to a consumer within seven days after a previous extension of consumer credit has been paid by the consumer will constitute a refinancing or renewal.
  • Every agreement between the CAB and consumer must be written in the consumer’s language of preference – English or Spanish.
  • If consumer cannot read, every agreement, disclosure and notice required by law must be read to the consumer in its entirety in the consumer’s language of preference prior to their signature,
  • To provide every consumer seeking assistance with a form referencing non-profit agencies that provide financial education and training programs and agencies with cash assistance programs.
  • To provide the form described above in the consumer’s language of preference and will provide information on extensions of consumer credit and any information as required by the ordinance.
  • To provide the form described above in the consumer’s language of preference and will provide information on extensions of consumer credit and any information as required by the ordinance.

Resources For Credit Access Business:

How to Register with the City:

Beginning Tuesday, March 18, 2014 the City of Houston will begin accepting credit access business registration applications as required under Chapter 28, Article XV.  All credit access businesses must obtain a certificate of registration to lawfully operate within the City of Houston effective Tuesday, July 1, 2014. To obtain a certificate, businesses must:

  • Submit a completed Credit Access Business application form
  • Submit a copy of a current, valid Texas State License issued under Chapter 393, Subchapter G of Texas Finance Code provided by Texas Office of Consumer Credit Commission
  • Submit a copy of current, valid Certificate of Occupancy showing that the credit access business is in compliance with the City of Houston Construction Code
  • Pay the non-refundable $51.42  registration fee and administration fee $27.52 for each physically separate credit access business location

Completed applications and fees can be submitted:

In Person:
Houston Permitting Center
Administration & Regulatory Affairs-Commercial Permitting & Enforcement Section
1002 Washington Avenue
Houston, TX 77002  

By mail:
Houston Permitting Center
Administration & Regulatory Affairs-Commercial Permitting & Enforcement Section
P.O. Box 1561
Houston, Texas 77251-1561

Please call 832.394.8803 or email Houstonpermithelp@Houstontx.gov for more information or assistance.

Upon approval, the City will issue each business a certificate of registration. The certificate must be prominently displayed in each credit access business location in order to operate within the Houston city limits.

Resources For Credit Access Customers:

How to file a Complaint about a Credit Access Business:

To file a complaint against a Credit Access Business located within the City of Houston, customers must submit completed complaint form along with copies of any related loan documents, fliers, disclosures, forms, etc. to ARA.

Completed forms and documents can be submitted:

In Person:
Houston Permitting Center
Administration & Regulatory Affairs-Commercial Permitting & Enforcement Section
1002 Washington Avenue
Houston, TX 77002  

By mail:
Houston Permitting Center
Administration & Regulatory Affairs-Commercial Permitting & Enforcement Section
P.O. Box 1561
Houston, Texas 77251-1561

ARA will review complaint forms to ensure application and required documentation is complete and submit complaints to the City Attorney’s office for further investigation and prosecution (where applicable).    

Questions to ask before you file:

  • When was the payday loan/title loan taken out?  As the City’s ordinance took effect July 1, 2014, complaints against loans taken out before June 30, 2014 cannot be prosecuted by the City’s legal department.
  • Is the lender physically located within Houston city limits? The City of Houston’s ordinance does not apply to companies located outside city limits. 

Please call 832.394.8803 or email Houstonpermithelp@Houstontx.gov for more information or assistance.