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Related Resources

Others in the Federal Reserve System also study consumer credit and payments. Links to relevant studies and surveys, reports to Congress, papers and articles, guidance and regulation, and webinars produced by the Federal Reserve Board and other Reserve Banks can be found below.

Studies & Surveys

Consumers and Mobile Financial Services Report 2012 PDF External Link

Mobile devices have increasingly become tools that consumers use for banking, payments, budgeting, and shopping. This report presents findings from an online survey, conducted in December 2011 and January 2012, examining the use of mobile technology to access financial services and make financial decisions.
Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2012)

The 2009 Survey of Consumer Payment Choice PDF External Link

This paper presents results of the 2009 Survey of Consumer Payment Choice (SCPC), along with revised 2008 SCPC data.
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston (2011)

Survey of Consumer Finances External Link

The Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) is a triennial survey of the balance sheet, pension, income, and other demographic characteristics of U.S. families. The survey also gathers information on the use of financial institutions. Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (Various Years)

Federal Reserve Payments Studies

The Federal Reserve Payments Studies are part of an ongoing effort by the Federal Reserve System to measure and analyze trends in noncash payments in the United States. The 2010 study estimates the total number and value of payments that were made in 2009 by check, debit card, credit card, automated clearinghouse, and prepaid card from accounts domiciled in the United States. The study also estimates the number and value of ATM withdrawals. The 2007, 2004, and 2001 studies are also available below.

2010 Federal Reserve Payments Study - Summary Report PDF External Link

During 2009, households that were surveyed for the 2007 edition of the Survey of Consumer Finances were re-interviewed to see how the financial crisis and recession affected their financial well-being. This paper summarizes the findings.

2007 Federal Reserve Payments Study - Summary Report PDF External Link

2004 Federal Reserve Payments Study - Summary Report PDF External Link

2001 Retail Payments Research Project PDF External Link

Credit Card Disclosures, Solicitations, and Privacy Notices: Survey Results of Consumer Knowledge and Behavior PDF External Link

Presents the results of surveys undertaken to assess consumers ’ knowledge of, familiarity with, and attitudes about credit card disclosures, credit card solicitations, and privacy notices received from their financial institutions. Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2006)

Trends in the Use of Payment Instruments in the United States PDF External Link

This article analyzes the results of two payments surveys conducted in 2004, one of depository institutions (the 2004 depository institution survey) and one of electronic payments networks, processors, and credit card issuers (the 2004 electronic payment survey). It also draws on the results of two similar surveys conducted in 2001. Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2005)

U.S. Consumers and Electronic Banking, 1995-2003 PDF External Link

This article draws on data from two nationwide surveys to look at consumers' use of e-banking technologies, particularly as it relates to consumer demographic characteristics and perceptions, and the relationship between these factors and the characteristics of selected e-banking products and services. The article examines changes in consumers' use of e-banking technologies between 1995 and 2003, a period of substantial change and growth in the electronic financial services marketplace, and shifts in perceptions in recent years. It concludes with a discussion of the implications of trends in the use of e-banking for consumer educators. Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2004)

The Future of Retail Electronic Payments Systems: Industry Interviews and Analysis PDF External Link

To understand the implications of developments in electronic payments and to gather more information about barriers to payments innovation, the Federal Reserve's Payments System Development Committee asked Federal Reserve staff to hold discussions with a broad range of parties interested in the evolution of the payments system. Special attention was given to issues involving the clearing and settlement of retail electronic payments. Part 1 of the following report provides an informative overview of the diverse opinions expressed in the discussions. Part 2 summarizes and provides further information, where possible, on specific comments and recommendations made by those interviewed. These comments and recommendations are directed at both the public and private sectors. Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2002)

Reports to the Congress

Report to the Congress on Government-Administered, General-Use Prepaid Cards External Link

This report discusses the prevalence of use in terms of the number of general-use prepaid cards used in federal, state, and local government-administered payment programs as of year-end 2010, and in terms of the volume and value of transactions made using those cards during 2010.

Federal Reserve Releases Report on College Credit Card Agreements External Link

The Federal Reserve Board released a report that contains 2010 payment and account information about more than 1,000 agreements between institutions of higher education or affiliated organizations and credit card issuers. The Board also updated an online database that includes the full text of each agreement that was in effect during 2010.

Use of Credit Cards by Small Businesses and the Credit Card Market for Small Businesses PDF External Link

"The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the Board) submits this report in accordance with section 506 of the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 (Credit CARD Act, or Act), Pub. L. No. 111-24, 123 Stat. 1734 (2009). Section 506(a) of the Credit CARD Act requires the Board to conduct a review of the use of credit cards by businesses with no more than 50 employees and of the credit card market for small businesses. Section 506(a) provides specific considerations for the Board’s review." Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (May 2010)

Reductions of Consumer Credit Limits Based on Certain Information as to Experience or Transactions of the Consumer PDF External Link

"Creditors consider a wide variety of information in managing and assessing credit risk and account profitability. Over the past year or so, concerns have been raised about the types of information some creditors may consider when setting and adjusting credit terms on credit cards they issue to consumers. For the most part, the types of information that have been the focus of attention relate to the possible use of transaction-specific details, such as the identity or location of the merchant or store involved in a credit card transaction or the types or prices of the items purchased. In order to learn more about the practices of credit card issuers in this regard, section 505 of the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act (Credit CARD Act) of 2009 requires the Federal Reserve Board to prepare a report to the Congress. This report was prepared in response to the congressional request."
Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (May 2010)

Annual Report 2010: Fair Debt Collection Practices Act PDF External Link

"The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) is pleased to submit to Congress this annual report summarizing the administrative and enforcement actions it has taken under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692-1692p, during the past year. These actions are part of the FTC’s ongoing effort to curtail deceptive, unfair, and abusive debt collection practices in the marketplace. Such practices cause substantial consumer injury, including payment of amounts not owed, unintended waivers of rights, invasions of privacy, and emotional distress. In some circumstances, illegal collection practices can place consumers deeper in debt." Federal Trade Commission (2010)

Fair Credit Reporting Act Dispute Process External Link

"The Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ("Board") submit this report pursuant to section 313(b) of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 ("the FACT Act"). The report discusses the steps that consumer reporting agencies ("CRAs") and furnishers of information to CRAs ("furnishers") take after receiving a consumer dispute about the accuracy or completeness of information in the consumer's file. The report first provides background information and describes the Fair Credit Reporting Act's ("FCRA's") dispute provisions. The core portion of the report, titled "The Dispute Process," addresses (1) how the consumer submits a dispute to the CRA, (2) how the CRA forwards the dispute to the furnisher, (3) how the furnisher investigates the dispute and replies to the CRA, and (4) how the CRA reviews the furnisher's response and conveys the results of the reinvestigation to the consumer. The report also discusses the dispute process when consumers submit disputes directly to furnishers. The Board issued a request for public comment, and the report summarizes commenters' overall views on the dispute process." Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (August 2006)

Practices of the Consumer Credit Industry in Soliciting and Extending Credit and their Effects on Consumer Debt and Insolvency External Link

"This report focuses on credit card debt, in keeping with statements made on the floor of the Senate in 1999 by the principal sponsor of the amendment that added section 1229 to the act that was ultimately passed.3 The report presents a brief history of revolving credit and discusses the factors that explain the growth of revolving consumer credit over time, focusing on the relationship of this growth to household indebtedness and bankruptcy. Data for this part of the report come from primary sources, such as the Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finances, and from industry sources and the economic literature. Next, this report discusses the practices used by bank issuers of credit cards to solicit customers and extend credit, including the methods they use to determine whether a consumer will be able to repay his or her debt. This discussion is based on the general knowledge of these practices that the Federal Reserve has acquired, particularly in its capacity as an agency responsible for ensuring the safety and soundness of banking organizations and through its experience working with the other federal and state financial institution regulatory agencies responsible for supervising bank credit card issuers. The final section of the report describes the tools used by banking supervisors--including examinations, supervisory guidance, and enforcement activities as necessary--to discourage unsafe and unsound lending practices and discusses recent supervisory guidance aimed at curbing certain practices by lenders." Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (June 2006)

Electronic Stored-Value Products PDF External Link

"Section 2601 of the Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act of 1996 directs the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the Board) to conduct a study that evaluates whether provisions of the Electronic Fund Transfer Act could be applied to electronic stored-value products without adversely affecting the cost, development, and operation of such products. The Board is to consider whether alternatives to regulation under the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, including the option of allowing market forces to shape the development and operation of electronic stored-value products, could more efficiently achieve the objectives embodied in that act." Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (March 1997)

The Profitability of Credit Card Operations of Depository Institutions PDF External Link

Section 8 of the Fair Credit and Charge Card Disclosure Act of 1988 directs the Federal Reserve Board to transmit annually to the Congress a report about the profitability of credit card operations of depository institutions. This is the 12th report. The analysis here is based to a great extent on information from the Consolidated Reports of Condition and Income (Call Report) and two Federal Reserve surveys, the Quarterly Report of Credit Card Interest Rates and the Survey of Terms of Credit Cards Plans. Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2009)

Report to the Congress on Credit Scoring and Its Effects on the Availability and Affordability of Credit PDF External Link

Section 215 of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (Fact Act) directs the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to study how credit scoring has affected the availability and affordability of credit and insurance, to determine the relationship between credit scores and actual credit losses and insurance claims, and to determine how these relationships vary for the population groups protected under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA). In addition, section 215 directs the Board and the FTC to study the extent to which the consideration of certain factors included in credit-scoring and insurance-scoring models could have a negative or differential effect on populations protected under ECOA and the extent to which alternative factors could be used in credit scoring to achieve comparable results with less negative effect on protected populations. In preparing the study, the Federal Reserve took the lead in assessing the effects of credit scoring on credit markets, the subject of the present document; the FTC took the lead in the area of insurance and has issued a separate report on the topic.
Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2007)

Report to the Congress on the Disclosure of Point-of-Sale Debit Fees PDF External Link

This report presents findings by the Federal Reserve Board on the disclosure of fees that a depository institution imposes when a customer chooses to secure a point-of-sale (POS) debit transaction by providing a personal identification number (PIN). The economic importance of debit card transactions has grown steadily in recent years. In 2004, consumers in the United States will conduct an estimated 18.6 billion debit card transactions, an amount that represents approximately 53 percent of all card-based purchase transactions. Consumers will secure more than one-third of these debit transactions with a PIN and the remainder with a signature. Recently, some depository institutions have instituted a fee that applies when a consumer conducts a PIN debit transaction. Some members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs are concerned that consumers may be unaware of the existence or the source of these fees. To address this concern, committee members requested that the Federal Reserve Board conduct this study.
Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2004)

Papers & Articles

What You Need to Know: New Rules for Gift Cards External Link

The Federal Reserve Board has released a new online publication to help consumers better understand how to protect themselves against harmful gift card practices. What You Need to Know: New Rules for Gift Cards is the third publication in a series designed to explain Board regulations to consumers in an easy-to-understand format. This publication describes the types of cards that are covered under gift card rules released last month and highlights key protections, including new limits on expiration dates, requirements for clear fee disclosures, and fee restrictions. Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2010)

Recent Developments in the Credit Card Market and the Financial Obligations Ratio PDF External Link

Over the past fifteen years, U.S. households in the aggregate have devoted an increasing share of their after tax income to the payment of financial obligations. Much of the increase is attributable to a rise in the level of credit card debt, which has raised the share of households' aggregate after tax income that is devoted to credit card payments. This article argues that three important developments in the credit card market over the period account for most of the rise in credit card payments relative to income and played a strong role in the rise of the total financial obligations ratio (FOR).
Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2005)

Credit Report Accuracy and Access to Credit PDF

This paper examines the possible effects that data limitations have on consumers by estimating the changes in consumers' credit scores that would show up in their credit records. It also investigates whether different patterns emerge when individuals in the sample are grouped by strength and depth of credit history and selected demographic characteristics. Such segmentation allows the determination of whether the effects of data limitations differ for various subgroups of the population.
Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2004)

A Guide to the ATM and Debit Card Industry PDF External Link

The ATM and debit card industry is undergoing significant change. Some of the most dramatic changes include the sharp growth in point-of-sale debit card transactions, the intense competition between online and offline debit, the heavy consolidation of regional EFT networks and third-party service providers, the growing importance of nonbank and third-party processor ownership of networks, and new pricing structures and strategies. This paper provides a guide to the current structure of the ATM and debit card industry. It also highlights some key economic and public policy issues. Among the issues addressed are market concentration, vertical integration and economies of scope, pricing, access, and risk.
Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Payments System Research (2003; updated 2006)

Nonbanks in the Payments System PDF External Link

Nonbanks have always been a key component of the nation’s payments system. In recent years, however, nonbanks have become even more prominent. This heightened visibility raises several questions. What payments activities are nonbanks engaged in? What roles do nonbanks play in specific payments types? What types of risk are potentially associated with nonbank participation? This paper begins to address these questions. Preliminary findings include: (1) Nonbanks are involved in a myriad of activities and roles, both in traditional and emerging payments types; (2) Nonbank business relationships with banks and other participants in the payments systems are often highly complex and interrelated; (3) Nonbanks are rarely directly involved in settlement activities and, hence, appear to be associated with limited settlement and systemic risk; (4) Both nonbanks and banks appear to be increasingly susceptible to operational risk factors.
Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Payments System Research (2003)

An Overview of Consumer Data and Credit Reporting PDF External Link

For some time, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System has sought to obtain more detailed and timely information on the debt status, loan payment behavior, and overall credit quality of U.S. consumers. For decades, information of this type has been gathered by credit reporting companies primarily to assist creditors in evaluating the credit quality of current and prospective customers. To evaluate the potential usefulness of these data, the Federal Reserve Board engaged one of the three national consumer reporting companies to supply the credit records, without personal identifying information, of a nationally representative sample of individuals. This article describes the way the credit reporting companies compile and report their data and gives background on the regulatory structure governing these activities. This description is followed by a detailed look at the information collected in credit reports. Key aspects of the data that may be incomplete, duplicative, or ambiguous as they apply to credit evaluation are highlighted in the analysis. The article concludes with a discussion of steps that might be taken to address some of the issues identified.
Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2003)

The Use of Checks and Other Noncash Payment Instruments in the United States PDF External Link

Statistical estimates indicate that the use of checks in the United States has been declining since the mid-1990s, even as the population and level of economic activity have been increasing. In contrast, the use of electronic payments has been growing at high and accelerating rates. Nonetheless, the paper check remains the predominant means of making retail payments and will likely continue to play a significant role in the U.S. payment system for the foreseeable future. The number and value of checks paid vary across depository institutions according to type, size, and location, in part as a result of differences in the use of checks and electronic payments by households, businesses, and governments. Overall, household's share of total checks written has increased relative to that of businesses and governments. Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2002)

Guidance & Regulation

Federal Reserve Releases Report on College Credit Card Agreements External Link

The Federal Reserve Board on Monday released a report that contains payment and account information about more than 1,000 agreements between credit card issuers and institutions of higher education or affiliated organizations that provide for the issuance of credit cards to students. The Board also launched an online database with additional information such as the terms of these agreements. Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2010)

Federal Reserve Proposes Amendments to Regulation Z to Clarify Rules Pertaining to Credit Cards External Link

The Federal Reserve Board on Tuesday proposed a rule amending Regulation Z (Truth in Lending) to clarify aspects of the Board’s rules protecting consumers who use credit cards. The proposal is intended to enhance protections for consumers and to resolve areas of uncertainty so that card issuers fully understand their compliance obligations. Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2010)

Federal Reserve Announces Final Rule Regarding Effective Dates for Gift Card Rules External Link

The Federal Reserve Board on Tuesday announced a final rule implementing recent legislation modifying the effective date of certain disclosure requirements applicable to gift cards under the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009. Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2010)

Federal Reserve Implements Legislation Regarding Effective Dates For Gift Card Rules External Link

The Federal Reserve Board has announced its approval of an interim final rule implementing recent legislation modifying the effective date of certain disclosure requirements applicable to gift cards under the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009. For gift certificates, store gift cards, and general-use prepaid cards produced prior to April 1, 2010, the legislation and interim final rule delay the August 22, 2010, effective date of these disclosures until January 31, 2011, provided that several conditions are met.
Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2010)

Federal Reserve Announces Final Rules to Protect Credit Card Users From Certain Practices External Link

The Federal Reserve Board has approved a final rule to protect credit card users from unreasonable late payment and other penalty fees and to require credit card issuers to reconsider interest rate increases imposed since the beginning of last year. Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2010)

Federal Reserve Announces Online Database for Consumer Credit Card Agreements External Link

Consumer credit card agreements from more than 300 credit card issuers are now online in a searchable database created by the Federal Reserve Board. The agreements contain general credit terms and conditions along with pricing and fee information. The database will help consumers compare credit card agreements and find a card that best suits their personal finance needs. The database External Link will be updated quarterly; the next submission deadline is August 2, 2010.
Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2010)

Federal Reserve Announces Final Rules to Restrict Fees and Expiration Dates on Gift Cards External Link

The Federal Reserve Board has announced final rules to restrict the fees and expiration dates that may apply to gift cards. The rules protect consumers from certain unexpected costs and require that gift card terms and conditions be clearly stated. Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2010)

Federal Reserve Approves Final Rules to Protect Credit Card Users From a Number of Costly Practices External Link

The Federal Reserve Board has approved a final rule amending Regulation Z (Truth in Lending) to protect consumers who use credit cards from a number of costly practices. Credit card issuers must comply with most aspects of the rule beginning on February 22. Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2010)

Board Approves Proposed Rule Amending Credit Card Provisions of Regulation Z (Truth in Lending) External Link

The Federal Reserve Board proposed rules amending Regulation Z (Truth in Lending) to protect consumers who use credit cards from a number of potentially costly practices. Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2009)

Board Issues Interim Final Rule Amending Credit Card Provisions of Regulation Z (Truth in Lending) External Link

The Federal Reserve Board approved an interim final rule amending Regulation Z (Truth in Lending) to require creditors to increase the amount of notice consumers receive before the rate on a credit card account is increased or a significant change is made to the account's terms. The amendments also allow consumers to reject such increases and changes by informing the creditor before the increase or change goes into effect. Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2009)

Agencies Issue Frequently Asked Questions on Identity Theft Rules External Link

Six federal agencies issued a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) today to help financial institutions, creditors, users of consumer reports, and issuers of credit cards and debit cards comply with federal regulations on identity theft and discrepancies in changes of address. Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2009)

Regulation E (Electronic Fund Transfers) External Link

Establishes the rights, liabilities, and responsibilities of parties in electronic funds transfers and protects consumers when they use such systems.

Regulation Z (Truth in Lending) External Link

Prescribes uniform methods for computing the cost of credit, for disclosing credit terms, and for resolving errors on certain types of credit accounts.

Regulation AA (Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices) External Link

Establishes consumer complaint procedures and defines unfair or deceptive practices in extending credit to consumers.

Regulation DD (Truth in Savings) External Link

Requires depository institutions to provide disclosures to enable consumers to make meaningful comparisons of deposit accounts.

FFIEC Agencies Issue Guidance on Credit Card Account Management and Loss Allowance Practices External Link

Under the auspices of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Office of Thrift Supervision have issued guidance governing account management and loss allowance practices for credit card lending. Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2003)

Authentication in an Internet Banking Environment PDF External Link

This updated guidance replaces the 2001 Guidance and specifically addresses why financial institutions regulated by the agencies should conduct risk-based assessments, evaluate customer awareness programs, and develop security measures to reliably authenticate customers remotely accessing their Internet-based financial services.

Web Seminars & Videos

Lessons from a Storm External Link

This video demonstrates how having a bank account proved to be a big advantage to Hurricane Katrina victims who were trying to get back on their feet and re-establish a firm financial footing. Read the press release External Link, watch the video External Link in English or Spanish, or order the video as a dual-language DVD.

Credit Cards: Past, Present, Future

On March 8, 2009, as part of National Consumer Protection Week, the Federal Reserve Board's Division of Consumer and Community Development Studies and Education sponsored a webinar on changes in the credit card market; current trends in consumer research on credit cards, including consumer testing; new credit card regulations that will take effect in 2010; and consumer tools and information available from the Federal Reserve. The webinar included a question and answer segment.

Please note: This is a recorded event; the real-time polling feature of this webinar is no longer active.

All Resources

Resources listed under this tab are ordered alphabetically by title.

A Guide to the ATM and Debit Card Industry PDF External Link

The ATM and debit card industry is undergoing significant change. Some of the most dramatic changes include the sharp growth in point-of-sale debit card transactions, the intense competition between online and offline debit, the heavy consolidation of regional EFT networks and third-party service providers, the growing importance of nonbank and third-party processor ownership of networks, and new pricing structures and strategies. This paper provides a guide to the current structure of the ATM and debit card industry. It also highlights some key economic and public policy issues. Among the issues addressed are market concentration, vertical integration and economies of scope, pricing, access, and risk. Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Payments System Research (2003; updated 2006)

Agencies Issue Frequently Asked Questions on Identity Theft Rules External Link

Six federal agencies issued a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) today to help financial institutions, creditors, users of consumer reports, and issuers of credit cards and debit cards comply with federal regulations on identity theft and discrepancies in changes of address. Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2009)

An Overview of Consumer Data and Credit Reporting PDF External Link

For some time, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System has sought to obtain more detailed and timely information on the debt status, loan payment behavior, and overall credit quality of U.S. consumers. For decades, information of this type has been gathered by credit reporting companies primarily to assist creditors in evaluating the credit quality of current and prospective customers. To evaluate the potential usefulness of these data, the Federal Reserve Board engaged one of the three national consumer reporting companies to supply the credit records, without personal identifying information, of a nationally representative sample of individuals. This article describes the way the credit reporting companies compile and report their data and gives background on the regulatory structure governing these activities. This description is followed by a detailed look at the information collected in credit reports. Key aspects of the data that may be incomplete, duplicative, or ambiguous as they apply to credit evaluation are highlighted in the analysis. The article concludes with a discussion of steps that might be taken to address some of the issues identified. Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2003)

Annual Report 2010: Fair Debt Collection Practices Act PDF External Link

"The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) is pleased to submit to Congress this annual report summarizing the administrative and enforcement actions it has taken under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692-1692p, during the past year. These actions are part of the FTC’s ongoing effort to curtail deceptive, unfair, and abusive debt collection practices in the marketplace. Such practices cause substantial consumer injury, including payment of amounts not owed, unintended waivers of rights, invasions of privacy, and emotional distress. In some circumstances, illegal collection practices can place consumers deeper in debt." Federal Trade Commission (2010)

Board Approves Proposed Rule Amending Credit Card Provisions of Regulation Z (Truth in Lending) External Link

The Federal Reserve Board proposed rules amending Regulation Z (Truth in Lending) to protect consumers who use credit cards from a number of potentially costly practices. Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2009)

Board Issues Interim Final Rule Amending Credit Card Provisions of Regulation Z (Truth in Lending) External Link

The Federal Reserve Board approved an interim final rule amending Regulation Z (Truth in Lending) to require creditors to increase the amount of notice consumers receive before the rate on a credit card account is increased or a significant change is made to the account's terms. The amendments also allow consumers to reject such increases and changes by informing the creditor before the increase or change goes into effect. Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2009)

Consumers and Mobile Financial Services Report 2012 PDF External Link

Mobile devices have increasingly become tools that consumers use for banking, payments, budgeting, and shopping. This report presents findings from an online survey, conducted in December 2011 and January 2012, examining the use of mobile technology to access financial services and make financial decisions.
Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2012)

Credit Cards: Past, Present, Future

On March 8, 2009, as part of National Consumer Protection Week, the Federal Reserve Board's Division of Consumer and Community Development Studies and Education sponsored a webinar on changes in the credit card market; current trends in consumer research on credit cards, including consumer testing; new credit card regulations that will take effect in 2010; and consumer tools and information available from the Federal Reserve. The webinar included a question and answer segment.

Please note: This is a recorded event; the real-time polling feature of this webinar is no longer active.

Credit Card Disclosures, Solicitations, and Privacy Notices: Survey Results of Consumer Knowledge and Behavior PDF External Link

Presents the results of surveys undertaken to assess consumers ’ knowledge of, familiarity with, and attitudes about credit card disclosures, credit card solicitations, and privacy notices received from their financial institutions. Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2006)

Credit Report Accuracy and Access to Credit PDF

This paper examines the possible effects that data limitations have on consumers by estimating the changes in consumers' credit scores that would show up in their credit records. It also investigates whether different patterns emerge when individuals in the sample are grouped by strength and depth of credit history and selected demographic characteristics. Such segmentation allows the determination of whether the effects of data limitations differ for various subgroups of the population. Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2004)

Electronic Stored-Value Products PDF External Link

"Section 2601 of the Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act of 1996 directs the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the Board) to conduct a study that evaluates whether provisions of the Electronic Fund Transfer Act could be applied to electronic stored-value products without adversely affecting the cost, development, and operation of such products. The Board is to consider whether alternatives to regulation under the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, including the option of allowing market forces to shape the development and operation of electronic stored-value products, could more efficiently achieve the objectives embodied in that act." Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (March 1997)

Fair Credit Reporting Act Dispute Process External Link

"The Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ("Board") submit this report pursuant to section 313(b) of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 ("the FACT Act"). The report discusses the steps that consumer reporting agencies ("CRAs") and furnishers of information to CRAs ("furnishers") take after receiving a consumer dispute about the accuracy or completeness of information in the consumer's file. The report first provides background information and describes the Fair Credit Reporting Act's ("FCRA's") dispute provisions. The core portion of the report, titled "The Dispute Process," addresses (1) how the consumer submits a dispute to the CRA, (2) how the CRA forwards the dispute to the furnisher, (3) how the furnisher investigates the dispute and replies to the CRA, and (4) how the CRA reviews the furnisher's response and conveys the results of the reinvestigation to the consumer. The report also discusses the dispute process when consumers submit disputes directly to furnishers. The Board issued a request for public comment, and the report summarizes commenters' overall views on the dispute process." Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (August 2006)

Federal Reserve Announces Final Rules to Protect Credit Card Users From Certain Practices External Link

The Federal Reserve Board has approved a final rule to protect credit card users from unreasonable late payment and other penalty fees and to require credit card issuers to reconsider interest rate increases imposed since the beginning of last year. Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2010)

Federal Reserve Approves Final Rules to Protect Credit Card Users From a Number of Costly Practices External Link

The Federal Reserve Board has approved a final rule amending Regulation Z (Truth in Lending) to protect consumers who use credit cards from a number of costly practices. Credit card issuers must comply with most aspects of the rule beginning on February 22. Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2010)

Federal Reserve Announces Final Rules to Restrict Fees and Expiration Dates on Gift Cards External Link

The Federal Reserve Board has announced final rules to restrict the fees and expiration dates that may apply to gift cards. The rules protect consumers from certain unexpected costs and require that gift card terms and conditions be clearly stated. Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2010)

Federal Reserve Implements Legislation Regarding Effective Dates For Gift Card Rules External Link

The Federal Reserve Board has announced its approval of an interim final rule implementing recent legislation modifying the effective date of certain disclosure requirements applicable to gift cards under the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009. For gift certificates, store gift cards, and general-use prepaid cards produced prior to April 1, 2010, the legislation and interim final rule delay the August 22, 2010, effective date of these disclosures until January 31, 2011, provided that several conditions are met.
Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2010)

Federal Reserve Payments Studies

The Federal Reserve Payments Studies are part of an ongoing effort by the Federal Reserve System to measure and analyze trends in noncash payments in the United States. The 2010 study estimates the total number and value of payments that were made in 2009 by check, debit card, credit card, automated clearinghouse, and prepaid card from accounts domiciled in the United States. The study also estimates the number and value of ATM withdrawals. The 2007, 2004, and 2001 studies are also available below.

Federal Reserve Releases Report on College Credit Card Agreements External Link

The Federal Reserve Board released a report that contains 2010 payment and account information about more than 1,000 agreements between institutions of higher education or affiliated organizations and credit card issuers. The Board also updated an online database that includes the full text of each agreement that was in effect during 2010.

2010 Federal Reserve Payments Study - Summary Report PDF External Link

During 2009, households that were surveyed for the 2007 edition of the Survey of Consumer Finances were re-interviewed to see how the financial crisis and recession affected their financial well-being. This paper summarizes the findings.

2007 Federal Reserve Payments Study - Summary Report PDF External Link

2004 Federal Reserve Payments Study - Summary Report PDF External Link

2001 Retail Payments Research Project PDF External Link

FFIEC Agencies Issue Guidance on Credit Card Account Management and Loss Allowance Practices External Link

Under the auspices of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Office of Thrift Supervision have issued guidance governing account management and loss allowance practices for credit card lending. Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2003)

Lessons from a Storm External Link

This video demonstrates how having a bank account proved to be a big advantage to Hurricane Katrina victims who were trying to get back on their feet and re-establish a firm financial footing. Read the press release External Link, watch the video External Link in English or Spanish, or order the video as a dual-language DVD.

Nonbanks in the Payments System PDF External Link

Nonbanks have always been a key component of the nation’s payments system. In recent years, however, nonbanks have become even more prominent. This heightened visibility raises several questions. What payments activities are nonbanks engaged in? What roles do nonbanks play in specific payments types? What types of risk are potentially associated with nonbank participation? This paper begins to address these questions. Preliminary findings include: (1) Nonbanks are involved in a myriad of activities and roles, both in traditional and emerging payments types; (2) Nonbank business relationships with banks and other participants in the payments systems are often highly complex and interrelated; (3) Nonbanks are rarely directly involved in settlement activities and, hence, appear to be associated with limited settlement and systemic risk; (4) Both nonbanks and banks appear to be increasingly susceptible to operational risk factors. Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Payments System Research (2003)

Practices of the Consumer Credit Industry in Soliciting and Extending Credit and their Effects on Consumer Debt and Insolvency External Link

"This report focuses on credit card debt, in keeping with statements made on the floor of the Senate in 1999 by the principal sponsor of the amendment that added section 1229 to the act that was ultimately passed.3 The report presents a brief history of revolving credit and discusses the factors that explain the growth of revolving consumer credit over time, focusing on the relationship of this growth to household indebtedness and bankruptcy. Data for this part of the report come from primary sources, such as the Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finances, and from industry sources and the economic literature. Next, this report discusses the practices used by bank issuers of credit cards to solicit customers and extend credit, including the methods they use to determine whether a consumer will be able to repay his or her debt. This discussion is based on the general knowledge of these practices that the Federal Reserve has acquired, particularly in its capacity as an agency responsible for ensuring the safety and soundness of banking organizations and through its experience working with the other federal and state financial institution regulatory agencies responsible for supervising bank credit card issuers. The final section of the report describes the tools used by banking supervisors--including examinations, supervisory guidance, and enforcement activities as necessary--to discourage unsafe and unsound lending practices and discusses recent supervisory guidance aimed at curbing certain practices by lenders." Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (June 2006)

Recent Developments in the Credit Card Market and the Financial Obligations Ratio PDF External Link

Over the past fifteen years, U.S. households in the aggregate have devoted an increasing share of their after tax income to the payment of financial obligations. Much of the increase is attributable to a rise in the level of credit card debt, which has raised the share of households' aggregate after tax income that is devoted to credit card payments. This article argues that three important developments in the credit card market over the period account for most of the rise in credit card payments relative to income and played a strong role in the rise of the total financial obligations ratio (FOR). Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2005)

Reductions of Consumer Credit Limits Based on Certain Information as to Experience or Transactions of the Consumer PDF External Link

"Creditors consider a wide variety of information in managing and assessing credit risk and account profitability. Over the past year or so, concerns have been raised about the types of information some creditors may consider when setting and adjusting credit terms on credit cards they issue to consumers. For the most part, the types of information that have been the focus of attention relate to the possible use of transaction-specific details, such as the identity or location of the merchant or store involved in a credit card transaction or the types or prices of the items purchased. In order to learn more about the practices of credit card issuers in this regard, section 505 of the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act (Credit CARD Act) of 2009 requires the Federal Reserve Board to prepare a report to the Congress. This report was prepared in response to the congressional request."
Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (May 2010)

Regulation E (Electronic Fund Transfers) External Link

Establishes the rights, liabilities, and responsibilities of parties in electronic funds transfers and protects consumers when they use such systems.

Regulation Z (Truth in Lending) External Link

Prescribes uniform methods for computing the cost of credit, for disclosing credit terms, and for resolving errors on certain types of credit accounts.

Regulation AA (Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices) External Link

Establishes consumer complaint procedures and defines unfair or deceptive practices in extending credit to consumers.

Regulation DD (Truth in Savings) External Link

Requires depository institutions to provide disclosures to enable consumers to make meaningful comparisons of deposit accounts.

Report to the Congress on Credit Scoring and Its Effects on the Availability and Affordability of Credit PDF External Link

Section 215 of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (Fact Act) directs the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to study how credit scoring has affected the availability and affordability of credit and insurance, to determine the relationship between credit scores and actual credit losses and insurance claims, and to determine how these relationships vary for the population groups protected under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA). In addition, section 215 directs the Board and the FTC to study the extent to which the consideration of certain factors included in credit-scoring and insurance-scoring models could have a negative or differential effect on populations protected under ECOA and the extent to which alternative factors could be used in credit scoring to achieve comparable results with less negative effect on protected populations. In preparing the study, the Federal Reserve took the lead in assessing the effects of credit scoring on credit markets, the subject of the present document; the FTC took the lead in the area of insurance and has issued a separate report on the topic. Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2007)

Report to the Congress on Government-Administered, General-Use Prepaid Cards External Link

This report discusses the prevalence of use in terms of the number of general-use prepaid cards used in federal, state, and local government-administered payment programs as of year-end 2010, and in terms of the volume and value of transactions made using those cards during 2010.

Report to the Congress on the Disclosure of Point-of-Sale Debit Fees PDF External Link

This report presents findings by the Federal Reserve Board on the disclosure of fees that a depository institution imposes when a customer chooses to secure a point-of-sale (POS) debit transaction by providing a personal identification number (PIN). The economic importance of debit card transactions has grown steadily in recent years. In 2004, consumers in the United States will conduct an estimated 18.6 billion debit card transactions, an amount that represents approximately 53 percent of all card-based purchase transactions. Consumers will secure more than one-third of these debit transactions with a PIN and the remainder with a signature. Recently, some depository institutions have instituted a fee that applies when a consumer conducts a PIN debit transaction. Some members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs are concerned that consumers may be unaware of the existence or the source of these fees. To address this concern, committee members requested that the Federal Reserve Board conduct this study. Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2004)

Survey of Consumer Finances External Link

The Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) is a triennial survey of the balance sheet, pension, income, and other demographic characteristics of U.S. families. The survey also gathers information on the use of financial institutions. Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (Various Years)

The 2009 Survey of Consumer Payment Choice PDF External Link

This paper presents results of the 2009 Survey of Consumer Payment Choice (SCPC), along with revised 2008 SCPC data.
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston (2011)

The Future of Retail Electronic Payments Systems: Industry Interviews and Analysis PDF External Link

To understand the implications of developments in electronic payments and to gather more information about barriers to payments innovation, the Federal Reserve's Payments System Development Committee asked Federal Reserve staff to hold discussions with a broad range of parties interested in the evolution of the payments system. Special attention was given to issues involving the clearing and settlement of retail electronic payments. Part 1 of the following report provides an informative overview of the diverse opinions expressed in the discussions. Part 2 summarizes and provides further information, where possible, on specific comments and recommendations made by those interviewed. These comments and recommendations are directed at both the public and private sectors. Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2002)

The Profitability of Credit Card Operations of Depository Institutions PDF External Link

Section 8 of the Fair Credit and Charge Card Disclosure Act of 1988 directs the Federal Reserve Board to transmit annually to the Congress a report about the profitability of credit card operations of depository institutions. This is the 12th report. The analysis here is based to a great extent on information from the Consolidated Reports of Condition and Income (Call Report) and two Federal Reserve surveys, the Quarterly Report of Credit Card Interest Rates and the Survey of Terms of Credit Cards Plans. Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2009)

The Use of Checks and Other Noncash Payment Instruments in the United States PDF External Link

Statistical estimates indicate that the use of checks in the United States has been declining since the mid-1990s, even as the population and level of economic activity have been increasing. In contrast, the use of electronic payments has been growing at high and accelerating rates. Nonetheless, the paper check remains the predominant means of making retail payments and will likely continue to play a significant role in the U.S. payment system for the foreseeable future. The number and value of checks paid vary across depository institutions according to type, size, and location, in part as a result of differences in the use of checks and electronic payments by households, businesses, and governments. Overall, household's share of total checks written has increased relative to that of businesses and governments. Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2002)

Trends in the Use of Payment Instruments in the United States PDF External Link

This article analyzes the results of two payments surveys conducted in 2004, one of depository institutions (the 2004 depository institution survey) and one of electronic payments networks, processors, and credit card issuers (the 2004 electronic payment survey). It also draws on the results of two similar surveys conducted in 2001. Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2005)

U.S. Consumers and Electronic Banking, 1995-2003 PDF External Link

This article draws on data from two nationwide surveys to look at consumers' use of e-banking technologies, particularly as it relates to consumer demographic characteristics and perceptions, and the relationship between these factors and the characteristics of selected e-banking products and services. The article examines changes in consumers' use of e-banking technologies between 1995 and 2003, a period of substantial change and growth in the electronic financial services marketplace, and shifts in perceptions in recent years. It concludes with a discussion of the implications of trends in the use of e-banking for consumer educators. Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2004)

Use of Credit Cards by Small Businesses and the Credit Card Market for Small Businesses PDF External Link

"The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the Board) submits this report in accordance with section 506 of the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 (Credit CARD Act, or Act), Pub. L. No. 111-24, 123 Stat. 1734 (2009). Section 506(a) of the Credit CARD Act requires the Board to conduct a review of the use of credit cards by businesses with no more than 50 employees and of the credit card market for small businesses. Section 506(a) provides specific considerations for the Board’s review." Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (May 2010)

What You Need to Know: New Rules for Gift Cards External Link

The Federal Reserve Board has released a new online publication to help consumers better understand how to protect themselves against harmful gift card practices. What You Need to Know: New Rules for Gift Cards is the third publication in a series designed to explain Board regulations to consumers in an easy-to-understand format. This publication describes the types of cards that are covered under gift card rules released last month and highlights key protections, including new limits on expiration dates, requirements for clear fee disclosures, and fee restrictions. Federal Reserve System Board of Governors (2010)

  • Last update: March 20, 2012