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The Evolving Role of Plastic: Consumer Credit, The Credit CARD Act of 2009 and the Emergence of Prepaid Debit J. Michael Collins Aug 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "The Evolving Role of Plastic: Consumer Credit, The Credit CARD Act of 2009 and the Emergence of Prepaid Debit J. Michael Collins Aug 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Evolving Role of Plastic: Consumer Credit, The Credit CARD Act of 2009 and the Emergence of Prepaid Debit J. Michael Collins Aug 2009

2 Background Four in five households have a credit card – 44 percent of households carry a balance – Aggregated $15 billion in penalty fees annually About 20% of population unbanked – More than lack of access – opting out – Fringe vs. Mainstream – artificial distinctions

3 Plastic Credit cards very common – Store, branded Convenience users 54% Revolving Credit Users 46% – Average outstanding credit card debt: $10,679 (Source: Nielson Report, April 2009) – $763 per open bankcard; An average of 5.6 cards (Source: Experian marketing insight snapshot, March 2009) – 84% of the college students have cards (Source: Sallie Mae, "How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards," April 2009)

4 Annual Percentage Rate (APR): interest rate charged for amount borrowed in terms of percentage per year Grace Period: amount of time allowed before finance charges (interest or cost of credit) are applied Minimum Finance Charge: minimum amount charged for card use Balance Calculation Method: method used to determine balance including finance charges Terms

5 Truth in Lending Act Schumer Box Annual Percentage Rate for purchases and balance transfers* 2.99% APR (.00819% daily periodic rate) on purchases and balance transfers until the first day of the billing cycle that includes the six (6) month anniversary date of the opening of your account. In the absence of the introductory rate, 12.99% APR(.03559% daily periodic rate) on purchases and balance transfers.** Grace period for repayment of the balance for purchases You will have a minimum of 25 days without a finance charge on new purchases if the total New Balance is paid in full each month by the statement closing date. Method of computing the balance used in calculating finance charges for purchases Average daily balance (including new purchases) Annual fee$25 Minimum finance chargeFor each Billing Period that your Account is subject to a finance charge, a minimum total Finance Charge of $0.50 will be imposed. Miscellaneous feesCash advance fee: 2.5% of amount of the cash advance, but not less than $2.50. Late payment fee: $25 Over-the-credit-limit fee: $25 Returned check fee: $25

6 CARD Act Timeline Federal Reserve proposalMay 2, 2008 Fed approves rulesDec 18, 2008 – Proposed implementation dateJuly 1, 2010 Bill IntroducedJan 22, 2009 Reported by CommitteeApr 22, 2009 – 89 AmendmentsAmendments Passed HouseApr 30, 2009 Passed SenateMay 19, 2009 Signed by PresidentMay 22, 2009 – Public Law No: 111-24. Provisions take effectFebruary 22, 2010 – Except 45 day notices; 21 day graceAugust 22, 2009

7 CARD Act vs. Prior Fed Changes Fed2009 Act No interest rate increase on old balanceXX No universal defaultXX Default rates30 days60 days 21 grace periodXX Clearer due dates and timesXX Highest interest balance paid firstProportionalHighest 1st Limits on over-the-limit feesXX No double-cycle billingXX 45 day notice for change in termsXX Under 21 co-signerX Subprime card fee limits50%25% Disclosure of foreign transaction feesX

8 Rate Changes Bans Retroactive Rate Increases – "any time, any reason" – "universal default – restricts retroactive rate increases due to late payment. First Year Protection: – Contract terms must be clearly spelled out and stable for the entirety of the first year. – Firms may continue to offer promotional rates with new accounts or during the life of an account, must be clearly disclosed and last at least 6 months.

9 APR Changes on Existing Balances Cannot raise interest rates for 12 months – unless you are more than 60 days behind back your original rate if on time for 6 months in a row – Unless variable rate card – Unless teaser rate (6 months minimum) Must specify promotional and Terms must stay in place for 5 years/until that balance is paid off Bans raising interest rates due to late payments or defaults on other credit cards, loans or bills

10 Fees Grace Periods – 21 calendar days from time of mailing – Bans weekend deadlines, due dates that change each month, and deadlines that fall in the middle of the day Balance Payments – apply payments to the highest interest balance first – Bans use of balance in a previous month to calculate interest charges on the current month ("double-cycle) Opt-In to Over-Limit Fees – Have to obtain a consumers permission to process transactions that would place the account over the limit; can only charge once per bill Payments – Bans issuing a charge for paying a bill by phone or online (except if use a service rep)

11 Notices of APR Changes on New Balances Requires 45 days notice before increasing interest rates. – Increases made will not affect existing balance. – Only affect the credit card balance accumulated 45 days after receiving the notice Issuer must consider ability to pay before raising limits – Or issuing a new card

12 Restricted Availability, if Under 21 Prohibited from issuing cards to consumers who are under 21, – unless the application is co-signed by a parent – proof of ability to repay the debt can be supplied Cannot raise limit without co-signer consent Opt in only for pre-screened offers No more gifts on campus Colleges must publically disclose all marketing relationships with issuers

13 Fair Payment Allocation Example: A balance transfer at one rate, while purchases accrue interest at a higher rate. – Card companies applied your payment to the balance with the lowest interest rate first, so that your balance with the higher interest rate would keep racking up interest. – Now, payments must first be applied to the balance with the highest interest rate Except last 2 months of before deferred balance is due

14 Disclosures The Fed will issue model disclosures – based on reviews of the market, empirical research, and testing with consumers to ensure that disclosures remain clear, useful, and relevant. Issuers will be required to show the real consequences to consumers of their credit decisions. Issuers will display how long it would take to pay off the existing balance if only pay the minimum due. – Display the payment amount and total interest cost to pay off the existing balance in 36 months.

15 Regulators Regulators will be required to report annually to the Congress on their enforcement of credit card protections – Regulators will be required to request public input on trends in the credit card market and potential consumer protection issues on a biennial basis to determine what new regulations or disclosures might be needed. – Regulators will be required either to update the applicable rules, or to publish findings if they deem further regulation unnecessary. – FRB will issue safe harbor levels for acceptable fee levels Increased penalties for violators – Card issuers will face higher penalties

16 Misc. CARD Provisions… must be displayed on all fee-based credit reporting sites Cannot finance fees on low balance cards (typically subprime) if more than 25% – EG: Fees and charges of $50 on $200 limit card Card agreements must be public (internet)

17 Store-linked Gift Cards Limits Fees on Gift and Stored Value Cards – Restricts inactivity fees unless the card has been inactive for at least 12 months – After that just one fee/month – Cards must stay valid for 5 years from date of issue / last deposit Covers retailer and general use cards – Not phone cards, rewards/loyality cards or paper certificates

18 Not Covered by CARD Act No restrictions on the level of interest rates No restrictions on the size of the rate increases that are allowed May still reduce credit limits at any time for any reason No restrictions on forced arbitration clauses

19 Looking Ahead Fewer 0% offers (especially on balance transfers) – Variable rates will be norm Smaller credit lines; Higher membership fees – Maybe fewer/weaker rewards Convenience user - Little impact Revolver - Fewer unexpected fees – may pay marginally higher rates Not in the market yet- Harder to qualify – especially youth or subprime

20 CARD Act information /Fact-Sheet-Reforms-to-Protect-American- Credit-Card-Holders/ /Fact-Sheet-Reforms-to-Protect-American- Credit-Card-Holders/ summary-509.pdf summary-509.pdf

21 Pre-Paid Debit General purpose Branded (VISA, MC) Stored Value – Linked to name, address, DOB, SSN/ITN, Govt ID Re-loadable – like bank account Buy at retailers, check cashers, etc

22 Benefits Withdraw cash at ATMs (w/ PIN) Make point of sale purchases (PIN); Online like credit – Alternative to cash; pay bills online; reserve hotel rooms Deposit money – Replace paper paychecks Lost or stolen cards and their full balance will be replaced – Alternative to traveler's checks. Bridge between fringe financial services and mainstream

23 Growth of PP Debit $4.7 billion in 2003 to $38.7 billion in 2007 - The Mercator Advisory Group Recent estimates: $100 billion+ Still small overall: – Federal Reserve Estimates in 2006 313 million prepaid (open loop) debit transactions 25 billion debit-card transactions 19 billion credit-card transactions

24 Fees: Caution Activation fee: (may be waived with direct deposit) Monthly maintenance fee: $2.95 to $9.95 – Annual fee: Alternative to monthly; Some cards charge for credit reporting (optional) Signature purchases: Some cards charge up to $1 per transaction. PIN purchases: Some cards; up to $2 per transaction. ATM withdrawals: Fees to ATM owner depend in network. Refund fee: Close prepaid debit card & balance sent: $5.95 or more Balance inquiries: online is free, but by phone or ATM fees common Statements: Archived paper statements in the mail can cost $1 to $5.95. Replacement cards: $3.95 to $10. Online bill pay: Some cards charge 49 cents to $1 per transaction. So totals depend on usage. One study suggests $15-$25 is typical; Others are lower

25 Source: Rachel Schneider The Industry Forecast for Prepaid Cards, 2009 Center for Financial Services Innovation, 2009

26 Why Are Consumers Signing Up? Debit costs less. – Bank fees seem capricious - Never know when next fee comes Low balance, NSF, statement fee, etc May exceed $25 per month for <$500 balance Convenience, Accessibility, Transparency One example: tax refunds Inclusion into mainstream plastic economy

27 Recent Research on Stored Value PP Debit Customers 48% have bank account 33% have credit card 52% use to pay bills 37% use a ATM 44% bought at retailer / 15% online / 13% payday lender 21% use direct deposit Average 1 deposit ($200), 4 purchases ($40); 1 ATM per month ($40) 80-90% of balance spent per month Source: CFSI InBrief 2008; Sherrie L. W. Rhine, Katy Jacob, Yazmin Osaki & Jennifer Tescher 2007

28 Consumer Education: Pre-Paid Debit Cards Not a bad alternative to bank accounts Shop around Read details Loading the card strategically Take advantage of web-based management Advanced features: credit reporting, budgeting, savings Regulations still murky – some issuers are not technically a bank or have regulator oversight Not much attention to this topic within Cooperative Extension Nationally as of mid-2009

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