Definition: A Currency Transaction Report (CTR) is a document required by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to be filed by financial institutions in the United States for certain cash transactions exceeding a specific threshold. CTRs are part of the anti-money laundering (AML) efforts to monitor and track potentially suspicious financial activities that may be related to money laundering or other criminal activities.

A Currency Transaction Report, or CTR, is a report that U.S. financial institutions must file with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) for any cash transaction over $10,000. CTRs used by law enforcement agencies to detect money laundering, tax evasion, and other financial crimes.

According to FinCEN regulations, any cash deposit, withdrawal, exchange or transfer exceeding $10,000 in one business day must be reported using a CTR. This includes transactions in cash, cashier’s checks, money orders, and traveler’s checks. There are also CTR requirements for multiple transactions totaling over $10,000 within one business day.

Financial institutions like banks, credit unions, and money service businesses must file CTRs within 15 days of the reported transaction. The CTR contains details about the customer, account information, and specifics of the transaction. Financial institutions analyze transactions and file CTRs to comply with AML (anti-money laundering) laws and regulations.

Currency transaction reports produce low yields but still allow patterns to emerge that show criminal activity.” – John Byrne, former IRS Commissioner


We are going to breakdown the history of Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs):

1960s – The first CTR requirements established in the 1960s as concerns about money laundering grew. In 1963, the Bank Secrecy Act enacted which required banks to keep certain records and provide reports to the IRS. However, large cash transactions not yet required for reporting.

1970 – The Bank Secrecy Act of 1970 first mandated CTR filing for cash transactions over $10,000. The law required financial institutions to report domestic currency transactions exceeding $10,000 to the U.S. Treasury Department. The goal was to identify large cash transactions that could indicate illegal activity.

1980s – The CTR reporting requirements expanded in the 1980s to cover suspicious transactions of any amount. Financial institutions also required to develop internal procedures to monitor for suspicious activity. This led to the establishment of anti-money laundering (AML) compliance programs.

1990s – The Treasury Department began delegating CTR reporting requirements to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), which created in 1990. FinCEN took over administering the Bank Secrecy Act and managing the CTR data collected from financial institutions.

2000s – After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, CTR reporting rules tightened and penalties increased. The USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 expanded the types of transactions for reporting and lowered some thresholds. It also granted law enforcement expanded access to CTR data.

Today – CTR requirements continue to evolve to meet changing risks and regulatory pressures. While the basic $10,000 threshold remains, additional transaction types must now reported. Financial institutions also required to file “aggregate” CTRs for multiple related transactions totaling over $10,000 in one day. Data analysis and suspicious activity reporting have also become more advanced.

In summary, CTRs evolved from a way to track large cash transactions to a critical tool for detecting money laundering and other financial crimes. Reporting requirements expanded significantly over the last 50+ years as regulations tightened.

Money laundering allows drug dealers and other criminals to reap the financial rewards of crime. Currency transaction reports help law enforcement fight this hidden economy.” – James S. Sloan, former FinCEN Director

Typical Examples

To illustrate the practical application of Currency Transaction Reports (CTR), consider the following examples:

  1. Large Cash Deposits: When an individual or business deposits a significant amount of cash, typically above a specified threshold! (currently set at $10,000 in the United States), the financial institution required to file a Currency Transaction Report (CTR). This report includes details such as the customer’s identification, the source of the funds. Also other relevant transaction information.
  2. Cash Withdrawals: Similarly, when a customer withdraws a substantial amount of cash in a single transaction, the financial institution must file a CTR. This applies to both individuals and businesses, and it helps track large cash movements and identify potential money laundering activities.
  3. Structured Transactions: A structured transaction refers to the practice of deliberately breaking down a large transaction into smaller amounts to avoid triggering the reporting threshold. Financial institutions obligated to file a CTR if they detect or suspect structured transactions, as this behavior may indicate an attempt to evade reporting requirements.

Practical Examples of transactions that would potentially trigger a Currency Transaction Report (CTR)

  • A customer deposits $50,000 in cash into their bank account. This is above the $10,000 threshold that typically triggers a CTR. The bank would file a Currency Transaction Report (CTR) with the IRS to report the large cash deposit.
  • A customer wires $25,000 from their bank account to an account in another country. Even though the amount is under $10,000, large cross-border wire transfers often trigger CTRs due to potential money laundering risks.
  • A customer regularly makes cash deposits just under the $10,000 threshold. The bank notices a pattern of “structuring”! deposits to avoid triggering a CTR. The bank would still file a Currency Transaction Report (CTR) to report this suspicious activity.
  • A customer buys $15,000 in cashier’s checks or money orders from the bank in a single day. Even though this is above the $3,000 threshold for cash transactions involving multiple monetary instruments, a Currency Transaction Report (CTR) would still need to be filed.
  • A real estate agent receives $90,000 in cash from a buyer to purchase a property. The agent deposits the funds into their business bank account. A CTR would need to be filed since the cash deposit is over $10,000.

Simple Examples

  1. A $12,000 cash deposit into a bank account
  2. A $9,500 cash withdrawal from an ATM
  3. A $15,000 wire transfer from one bank account to another
  4. Several cash transactions totaling over $10,000 within one business day

In general, any single cash deposit, withdrawal, exchange or transfer exceeding $10,000 would typically trigger a CTR. There are some additional thresholds and criteria depending on the specific type of transaction, but the $10,000 limit is a common rule of thumb.

Hope this gives you some good examples!


Understanding the significance of Currency Transaction Reports can be reinforced by considering the following statistics:

  • According to FinCEN, financial institutions filed approximately 2.2 million CTRs in 2020 alone, reflecting the volume of cash transactions being monitored for potential illicit activities.
  • FinCEN’s data analysis shows that CTRs contribute to the identification and disruption of various criminal activities, including money laundering, terrorist financing, and other financial crimes.

It is crucial for financial institutions to comply with CTR reporting requirements to support anti-money laundering efforts and maintain the integrity of the financial system.

Source of Wealth (SoW)

Relevant Numbers

  • U.S. financial institutions filed over 2 million CTRs in 2019.
  • CTRs identified over $2 billion in suspicious activity reports in 2019.
  • Only around 2% of CTRs identify actual suspicious activity.
  • 99% of CTRs filed on lawful transactions.
  • FinCEN analyzed over 26.6 million CTRs from 2012 to 2016.


  • In 2014, a Virginia bank filed CTRs that identified a Ponzi scheme operating across multiple states, resulting in arrests and asset seizures totaling $75 million.
  • In 2016, a CTR reported by a California bank helped uncover a mortgage fraud scheme that caused $10 million in losses.
  • In 2019, investigators used information from CTRs to prosecute a multimillion-dollar cybercrime and money laundering operation.

CTR data gives us the opportunity to spot activity that falls outside normal patterns, as criminals often unwittingly structure transactions in unusual ways.” – Richard Weber, former IRS Commissioner

The Future

CTR reporting requirements will likely become more extensive as financial institutions face increasing pressure to combat money laundering, fraud and other financial crimes:

  • Additional transaction types may be required to be reported, such as wire transfers under $10,000.
  • Lower reporting thresholds could be established, such as $5,000 or $8,000.
  • Real-time CTR reporting may become mandatory to more quickly identify suspicious activity.
  • Financial institutions will face escalating penalties for AML compliance failures.
  • More advanced analytics will be used to detect suspicious patterns within CTR data.

Explore the Power of Kyros AML Data Suite

To further strengthen AML compliance practices and streamline reporting processes, AML professionals can leverage innovative software solutions such as the Kyros AML Data Suite. This comprehensive AML compliance SaaS software offers numerous benefits, including:

  • Automated CTR Reporting: The Kyros AML Data Suite simplifies the process of generating and submitting CTRs by automating the data collection and reporting workflow. It ensures accuracy, reduces manual effort, and enhances efficiency in meeting regulatory obligations.
  • Transaction Monitoring and Alerts: The software’s advanced transaction monitoring capabilities help identify suspicious patterns and activities that may require the filing of CTRs. It generates real-time alerts, enabling timely responses and proactive risk mitigation.
  • Integration and Data Analysis: The Kyros AML Data Suite integrates with various data sources, enabling comprehensive data analysis for enhanced detection and investigation of potential financial crimes. It provides AML professionals with a holistic view of customer transactions, improving risk assessment accuracy.

If your organization is struggling to keep up with compliance requirements like CTR filing, Kyros AML Data Suite can help. Powered by AI-driven technology, Kyros offers an automated AML compliance workflow that streamlines CTR reporting and reduces false positives. Key features include transaction monitoring, name screening, case management, and ongoing training – all in one integrated platform.

Contact us today to see a demo and learn how Kyros can simplify your AML compliance program.


In summary, CTR reporting is a critical tool for law enforcement to identify potential money laundering activities. While the vast majority of CTRs identify legal transactions, those few that do flag suspicious activities can help recover millions in illicit funds and stop financial crimes. With evolving AML regulatory pressures, financial institutions must invest in technology and expertise to strengthen their CTR compliance programs.

To learn more about the Kyros AML Data Suite and its capabilities in supporting AML compliance, visit