CFPB Provides Flexibility on Electronic Card Disclosures During Pandemic

The CFPB yesterday issued a statement providing temporary flexibility for credit card issuers when providing electronic versions of disclosures that are required to obtain electronic consent from a consumer in accordance with the E-Sign Act and Regulation Z. The bureau noted that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a higher-than-normal volume of consumers may be reaching out to issuers and that cumbersome requirements and long call center wait times could slow their ability to access needed relief.

The bureau noted that it would take a “flexible supervisory and enforcement approach” to issuers’ electronic provision of disclosures during oral telephone interactions when a consumer is seeking a new credit card account, a temporary reduction in APRs or fees on an existing account, or a low-rate balance transfer.

“In these instances, the bureau does not intend to cite a violation in an examination or bring an enforcement action against an issuer that during a phone call does not obtain a consumer’s E-Sign consent to electronic provision of the written disclosures required by Regulation Z, so long as the issuer during the phone call obtains both the consumer’s oral consent to electronic delivery of the written disclosures and oral affirmation of his or her ability to access and review the electronic written disclosures,” the CFPB said. The agency noted that it expects issuers to take “reasonable steps” to verify consumers’ electronic contact information during the phone call.