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Friday, May 24, 2024

Things that caught our eye this week

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) filed a lawsuit against the online lending platform SoLo Funds, accusing the company of deceptive practices by misleading borrowers about the total costs of their loans.

Despite SoLo's marketing claims of offering zero-interest loans, the CFPB alleges that the platform employs "dark patterns" to manipulate borrowers into paying hidden fees disguised as "tips" or "donations." The CFPB is seeking legal remedies including injunctions to prevent future violations, monetary relief for affected borrowers, forfeiture of profits obtained through these practices, and a civil penalty.

SoLo Funds operates as a nonbank financial technology firm based in Los Angeles, facilitating short-term loans between consumers and investors through its digital platform. The platform has brokered over 1 million loans since 2018, accruing over $8 million in "donations" and nearly $13 million in "tips."

The CFPB's allegations extend to the platform's "social score" credit scoring tool, which the bureau claims lacks accuracy safeguards and misleads consumers regarding its necessity and the fees involved.

Additionally, SoLo has faced multiple state enforcement actions related to deceptive advertising and unlicensed operation, with settlements requiring significant refunds and penalties. The lawsuit aims to address these violations under the Consumer Financial Protection Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act, reflecting broader concerns about SoLo's operational integrity and consumer impact.

SEAA 2024 is around the corner

It's time to register for the Southeast Acquirers Association's 2024 show. Scheduled for June 10 to 12 at The Roosevelt New Orleans, the show promises exhibits, product previews, panels, educational and fun experiences, and connections galore all geared for payments professionals.

Exhibitor registration is $3,500 for an exhibit table and $300 for each exhibitor participant. For those in the Professional Services category—attorneys, investment bankers, accounting firms, professional consulting firms and independent private consultants—is $450 per participant.

There's still time to become an SEAA 2024 sponsor, too. Contact sponsor@southeastacquirers.com for details.

Attendee registration is $135 now. It will increase to $175 at the door.

To register for the conference, click here: www.southeastacquirers.com/

To secure a hotel room at The Roosevelt New Orleans, click here: book.passkey.com/gt/219470639?gtid=6c57ddc1310601390f2d081f4fe910c8

Bipartisan support for swift action on the FDTA

In a letter dated May 14, 2024, a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers addressed the leaders of eight federal financial regulatory agencies, urging swift action on the Financial Data Transparency Act (FDTA) requirements, which is part of the James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023. The signatories, including members from both the House and the Senate, emphasized the need for the agencies to adhere to the established timeline for finalizing their rulemaking under the FDTA.

The lawmakers highlighted the significant benefits of implementing the FDTA, including reducing regulatory reporting burdens and enhancing the accessibility, uniformity and usefulness of federal financial data. They advocated for the adoption of open-source data standards and common identifiers to promote interoperability and facilitate machine readability and search capabilities across various financial regulators.

The letter stressed that such improvements are crucial for leveraging recent technological advancements that allow market participants, academics and individuals to analyze government documents and extract insights without manual data entry. The representatives argued that making machine-readable data consistently available would foster greater market transparency and efficiency.

Chargeback Gurus and TSG to host webinar

It's an unfortunate fact that chargebacks are increasingly threatening businesses in the United States, creating significant financial losses and potential fines from card networks. To address this issue, Chargeback Gurus and The Strawhecker Group (TSG) previously collaborated on a detailed report examining the evolution of chargebacks and providing insights for businesses heading into 2024.

Now, they are extending their collaboration via a webinar, Empowering Merchants to Safeguard Revenue: Creating Strategies to Fight Fraud. It will begin at 1 p.m. CST on June 20, 2024, and is expected to be 45 minutes, including a Q&A.

The joint report, based on an extensive analysis of over 4 million U.S. merchants using TSG’s AIM platform, reveals that chargeback rates have escalated, pinpointing specific industries where this trend is more pronounced. It discusses significant emerging trends and advises merchants on areas requiring attention. It also outlines best practices for managing chargebacks in 2024, comparing the benefits of artificial intelligence (AI) and hybrid approaches, and highlights the ongoing challenges businesses face in effectively managing chargebacks. Additionally, it provides resources for merchants seeking to learn more and better protect their operations from the adverse impacts of chargebacks.

The webinar will delve into all of these issues and more. To register, visit tinyurl.com/yc5kzaf2 . end of article

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