CFPB provides e-sign consent relief for credit card issuers

In a statement released on June 3, the CFPB provided guidance for credit card issuers regarding electronic disclosures. In light of the current pandemic, increased call volumes and possible staffing constraints, the CFPB granted relief from the E-SIGN Act’s consent requirements for certain credit card disclosures. Albeit narrow and a bit delayed, the relief can still be helpful for credit unions.

Both the E-SIGN Act and Regulation Z require credit unions to obtain a member’s consent before it may provide most credit card disclosures electronically. The E-SIGN Act requires a member to either consent electronically or confirm consent electronically so verbal consent is not sufficient to provide electronic disclosures. The CFPB acknowledged the challenges this may pose for members calling to open new cards or request different terms when credit unions are dealing with already high call volumes. If a member cannot access their computer or other electronic device during the call, helping the member with a request or transaction may require a second call along with a second wait in the call queue after the member has had the opportunity to provide proper consent to receive electronic disclosures.

To help mitigate this issue, the statement indicates the CFPB will take a “flexible supervisory and enforcement approach during this pandemic” for credit unions wishing to provide certain disclosures electronically. The covered disclosures are: account opening disclosures under section 1026.6, temporary APR or fee reductions on existing accounts under sections 1026.9(c)(2)(v)(B)(i) and 1026.55(b)(1) and those related to balance transfers. The applicability of the statement is limited specifically to these disclosures. Periodic statement disclosures are notably absent from this list, so the flexibility discussed below would not apply to credit card statements.


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