Tuesday, March 25, 2014
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reported that it is developing new fee disclosure guidelines for the prepaid card industry. As part of a variety of new consumer protections the CFPB expects to enact, the bureau wants all prepaid card providers to follow the same guidelines when it comes to how they disclose fees and other program details to consumers.
In a March 18, 2014, blog post, a CFPB representative said disparate retail packaging can complicate consumers' ability to compare competing products. "Currently, each prepaid card company's retail package discloses different information, which makes it difficult to do side-by-side comparisons," the post noted.
The CFPB said it started field testing two potential disclosure models in Baltimore in February 2014. The week starting March 17 the CFPB began field testing in Los Angeles as well, with a third location to be the site of continued testing next month.
"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 CFPB said. "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."
Following the testing and consumer feedback, the CFPB said it expects to propose standardized disclosure guidelines "later this spring."
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