Regulation E Final Changes on Prepaid Cards
|Date / Time:
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) finalized strong federal consumer protections for prepaid account users.
The new rule requires financial institutions to limit consumers’ losses when funds are stolen or cards are lost, investigate and resolve errors, and give consumers free and easy access to account information. The Bureau also finalized new “Know Before You Owe” disclosures for prepaid accounts to give consumers clear, upfront information about fees and other key details.
Finally, prepaid companies must now generally offer protections similar to those for credit cards if consumers are allowed to use credit on their accounts to pay for transactions that they lack the money to cover.
The new rule applies specific federal consumer protections to broad swaths of the prepaid market for the first time. It covers traditional prepaid cards, including general purpose reloadable cards. It also applies to mobile wallets, person-to-person payment products, and other electronic prepaid accounts that can store funds.
Other prepaid accounts covered by the new rule include: payroll cards; student financial aid disbursement cards; tax refund cards; and certain federal, state, and local government benefit cards such as those used to distribute unemployment insurance and child support.
For many consumers, prepaid accounts are an alternative to traditional checking accounts, but until now they had only limited federal protections. The new rule gives prepaid account consumers important protections under the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, which are similar to those for checking account consumers. They include:
- Free and easy access to account information
- Error resolution rights
- Protections for lost cards and unauthorized transactions
Know Before You Owe: Prepaid Disclosures
- Standard, easy-to-understand, upfront information
- Publicly available card agreements
- Ability to pay
- Monthly credit billing statement
- Reasonable time to pay and limits on late fees
- Limited fee and interest charges
Other protections to ensure that the prepaid account and the credit feature described above are distinct, such as a:
- Thirty-day waiting period
- Wall between prepaid funds and credit repayment
- Regulation Changes in a Word Document so that you can search for information
- Sample Policy
- Sample Procedures
ABOUT YOUR PRESENTER
Deborah Crawford is the President of Gettechnical Inc., a Virginia based training company. She specializes in the deposit side of the financial institution and is an instructor on IRAs, BSA, Deposit Regulations and opening account procedures. She was formerly with Hibernia National Bank (now Capital One) and has bachelor's and master's degrees from Louisiana State University. She has 27 years of combined teaching and banking experience.
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