As states, U.S. federal regulators along with country regulators across the globe try and set rules for money transmitters, payment facilitators are temporarily caught in the middle.

That is how Heather Mark—director of compliance at ProPay and our guest for this week’s podcast—sees the environment.

When all of the conflicting particulars are set aside, there are only two situations where a PF gets into the money transmitter definition mess. First, there is the issue of “who has the ultimate control of the funds being transmitted,” Mark said. Secondly, she points to circumstances “where payment facilitators are injecting themselves into the payments process.”

If a PF’s activities take it into either of those scenarios, “then chances are pretty good that they will fall under the money transmitter provision,” Mark said.

Given the conflicting rules, isn’t it easier for PFs to simply assume that they are money transmitters and act accordingly? Mark argues that such an approach is unnecessary, not to mention costly.

“The notion of saying that I am simply going to act as a money transmitter and adhere to the most stringent of the requirements is certainly a plausibly scenario. It’s a viable plan, but it can be very expensive,” Mark said during the podcast. “There may be bonds that have to be put up, insurance requirements, fee disclosures. So the cost of becoming a money transmitter can be fairly daunting.”

Another concern is that, for the moment, state and federal money transmitter rules are not reciprocal. “You can be a money services business at the federal level without being a money transmitter at the state level but you cannot be a money transmitter at the state level without being a money services business at the federal level,” she said.

To hear more of the ins and outs of navigating treacherous money transmitter oceans, check out the podcast. At 9 min., 33 seconds, it’s an easy time investment.