Reg DD Bonus Definition

Posted By: Learned Hand

Reg DD Bonus Definition - 08/25/21 01:46 PM

There are several other threads on this site indicating that if you give a bonus just for opening an account, it is a Reg DD bonus; but if you have to open an account and do anything else to qualify, it is not a Reg DD bonus.

What is that position based on? I haven't been able to find any official interpretation, supervisory guidance, etc., saying anything about whether or not the inclusion of additional requirements removes an account-opening bonus from the Reg DD definition.

Putting my lawyer hat on, unless a law specifically provides a requirement or a prohibition, it doesn't exist. From that perspective, because the bonus definition in Reg DD does not say that bonus means consideration given "in exchange for opening, maintaining, renewing, or increasing an account balance with no limitations, restrictions, or other requirements," then having limitations, restrictions, or other requirements would not remove a bonus program from the Reg DD definition. If opening an account is one of the requirements, then it would qualify.

Of course, I've been in compliance long enough to know that a regulation is not a law, and that what really matters re. regulatory interpretation is what the regulators think it means. So, does anyone have a link or reference they can provide supporting the idea that "opening, maintaining, renewing, or increasing" actually means "opening, maintaining, renewing, or increasing, with no other requirements?"
Posted By: rlcarey

Re: Reg DD Bonus Definition - 08/25/21 01:54 PM

If you have a promotion that requires additional steps, then it is not typically a bonus. If I get a bonus for opening the account and applying for a debit card and using that debit card 7 times in the first month, the bonus is not for opening the account.
Posted By: Learned Hand

Re: Reg DD Bonus Definition - 08/31/21 05:35 PM

Has there ever been anything from a regulator supporting that interpretation? I'm not doubting that is the standard practice, but I'd like to have something I can point to other than "my vendor said so." I guess I could use the Bankers Online consensus as support for saying "this is the industry-standard interpretation," but I'd feel more comfortable if there was an actual statement from a regulator I could use.
Posted By: rlcarey

Re: Reg DD Bonus Definition - 08/31/21 06:02 PM

Why do you need support other than the definition of Bonus:

(f) Bonus means a premium, gift, award, or other consideration worth more than $10 (whether in the form of cash, credit, merchandise, or any equivalent) given or offered to a consumer during a year in exchange for opening, maintaining, renewing, or increasing an account balance.

I open an account and I do not get a premium, gift, award, or other consideration.

I open an account and I do 10 debit card transactions and I get a premium, gift, award, or other consideration after I do the 10 transactions.

Tell me how doing 10 debit card transaction falls into the category of opening, maintaining, renewing, or increasing an account balance.

I fail to see why there is such confusion.
Posted By: John Burnett

Re: Reg DD Bonus Definition - 08/31/21 06:19 PM

Under Regulation DD, it's only a bonus if it is paid for opening, maintaining, renewing, or increasing an account balance. If you don't get the "gift" unless you also request a debit card and use it 10 times, the bonus is conditioned on the debit card, not on opening, maintaining, renewing, or increasing.
Posted By: John Burnett

Re: Reg DD Bonus Definition - 08/31/21 06:21 PM

Understanding Reg DD is the same as understanding most other regulations. You have to start with the definitions.