CFPB Begins Testing Model Prepaid Disclosures

Posted on March 20th, 2014 in Consumer Finance, Federal Issues, Payments By BuckleySandler

On March 18, the CFPB announced that it has begun testing two potential model prepaid card disclosures. After holding field tests  last month in Baltimore and this week in Los Angeles, the CFPB plans a final field test next month at a location to be determined. The model forms would provide a standard format for disclosing certain fees, including, among others, monthly, reload, per purchase, ATM withdrawal, and inactivity fees. The two models primarily differ in design—the fees included on the two test models are identical, but for a “decline” fee, which appears only on one of the models.

The field testing follows the CFPB’s May 2012 advance notice of proposed rulemaking soliciting comments to evaluate prepaid cards. The CFPB received hundreds of comments in response to that initial inquiry, and since that time, advocacy groups and members of Congress have continued to pressure the CFPB to take action on prepaid cards.  For example, in the last several months, Senate Democrats introduced two prepaid card bills that would establish certain disclosure requirements, and the PEW Charitable Trusts released a paper outlining its latest position and model disclosures.

Finally, in addition to the field testing, the CFPB is seeking comments on the model disclosures through its blog, Twitter, Facebook, or email “from anyone who is interested in making prepaid card disclosures better.” Following completion of the testing, the CFPB expects to propose a rule “later this spring.” That timeline matches one laid out in the CFPB’s most recent rulemaking agenda, in which the Bureau anticipated a proposed rule in May 2014.

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