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Reg DD/UDAAP for "Better Than Free Checking Acct"

Question: 
Our advertising department wants to promote a checking account as better than free checking. The checking account would have a monthly service charge, with a list of benefits such as merchant discounts roadside assistance, travel discounts, free Internet banking and bill pay, etc. What Reg DD Section 1030.8 or UDAAP pitfalls might we encounter?
Answer: 

I am assuming that the monthly service charge you mention will be assessed to the checking account, and is not a charge made to the checking account for the use of some of the other services you mentioned. If that is the case, as you probably are aware, using the word "free" is not allowed under Reg DD (1030.8) if "any maintenance or activity fee may be imposed on the account". Reg DD also states that an advertisement shall not be misleading or inaccurate. The confusing/deceptive nature of the ad could also be a violation of both UDAP and UDAAP. I would advise changing the ad.

First published on BankersOnline.com 5/20/13

First published on 05/20/2013

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