During a CFBP field hearing today, the agency released an ANPR seeking comment on an array of issues related to prepaid cards, kicking off a far-reaching regulatory rewrite. Although the CFPB limits the ANPR’s scope to general-purpose reloadable cards (GPRs), the scope of its inquiry suggests the agency could mandate an array of new disclosures and protections designed to protect customers of a product many banks are offering in the wake of debit-interchange fee restrictions. Although asking many how-to questions, the CFPB states that it wants to extend coverage to GPRs, prioritizing common rules for credit, debit and GPR cards and upfront, uniform fee disclosures to facilitate comparison shopping. The Bureau also expresses concern that consumers, particularly under-banked and unbanked ones who use GPRs as a substitute for checking accounts, are generally unaware that credit- and debit-card protections are not required of GPR issuers.

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