The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (Bureau or CFPB) is issuing this final rule to create comprehensive consumer protections for prepaid accounts under Regulation E, which implements the Electronic Fund Transfer Act; Regulation Z, which implements the Truth in Lending Act; and the official interpretations to those regulations. The final rule modifies general Regulation E requirements to create tailored provisions governing disclosures, limited liability and error resolution, and periodic statements, and adds new requirements regarding the posting of account agreements. Additionally, the final rule regulates overdraft credit features that may be offered in conjunction with prepaid accounts. Subject to certain exceptions, such credit features will be covered under Regulation Z where the credit feature is offered by the prepaid account issuer, its affiliate, or its business partner and credit can be accessed in the course of a transaction conducted with a prepaid card. DATES: This rule is effective on October 1, 2017. The requirement in § 1005.19(b) to submit prepaid account agreements to the Bureau is delayed until October 1, 2018.
I. Summary of the Final Rule Regulation E implements the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA), and Regulation Z implements the Truth in Lending Act (TILA). On November 13, 2014, the Bureau issued a proposed rule to amend Regulations E and Z, which was published in the Federal Register on December 23, 2014 (the proposal or the proposed rule).1 The Bureau is publishing herein final amendments to extend Regulation E coverage to prepaid accounts and to adopt provisions specific to such accounts, and to generally expand Regulation Z’s coverage to overdraft credit features that may be offered in conjunction with prepaid accounts. The Bureau is generally adopting the rule as proposed, with certain modifications based on public comments and other considerations as discussed in detail in part IV below. This final rule represents the culmination of several years of research and analysis by the Bureau regarding prepaid products. Scope. The final rule’s definition of prepaid accounts specifically includes payroll card accounts and government benefit accounts that are currently subject to Regulation E. In addition, it covers accounts that are marketed or labeled as “prepaid” that are redeemable upon presentation at multiple, unaffiliated merchants for goods or services, or that are usable at automated teller machines (ATMs). It also covers accounts that are issued on a prepaid basis or
capable of being loaded with funds, whose primary function is to conduct transactions with multiple, unaffiliated merchants for goods or services, or at ATMs, or to conduct person-toperson (P2P) transfers, and that are not checking accounts, share draft accounts, or negotiable order of withdrawal (NOW) accounts. The final rule adopts a number of exclusions from the definition of prepaid account, including for gift cards and gift certificates; accounts used for savings or reimbursements related to certain health, dependent care, and transit or parking expenses; accounts used to distribute qualified disaster relief payments; and the P2P functionality of accounts established by or through the United States government whose primary function is to conduct closed-loop transactions on U.S. military installations or vessels, or similar government facilities. Pre-acquisition disclosures. The final rule establishes pre-acquisition disclosure requirements specific to prepaid accounts. Under the final rule, financial institutions must generally provide both a “short form” disclosure and a “long form” disclosure before a consumer acquires a prepaid account. The final rule provides guidance as to what constitutes acquisition for purposes of disclosure delivery; in general, a consumer acquires a prepaid account by purchasing, opening, or choosing to be paid via a prepaid account. The final rule offers an alternative timing regime for the delivery of the long form disclosure for prepaid accounts acquired at retail locations and by telephone, provided certain conditions are met. For this purpose, a retail location is a store or other physical site where a consumer can purchase a prepaid account in person and that is operated by an entity other than the financial institution that issues the prepaid account. The short form disclosure sets forth the prepaid account’s most important fees and certain other information to facilitate consumer understanding of the account’s key terms and