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1026.58—Internet posting of credit card agreements.

(a) Applicability. The requirements of this section apply to any card issuer that issues credit cards under a credit card account under an open-end (not home-secured) consumer credit plan.

(b) Definitions. (1) Agreement. For purposes of this section, “agreement” or “credit card agreement” means the written document or documents evidencing the terms of the legal obligation, or the prospective legal obligation, between a card issuer and a consumer for a credit card account under an open-end (not home-secured) consumer credit plan. “Agreement” or “credit card agreement” also includes the pricing information, as defined in §1026.58(b)(7).

(2) Amends. For purposes of this section, an issuer “amends” an agreement if it makes a substantive change (an “amendment”) to the agreement. A change is substantive if it alters the rights or obligations of the card issuer or the consumer under the agreement. Any change in the pricing information, as defined in §1026.58(b)(7), is deemed to be substantive.

(3) Business day. For purposes of this section, “business day” means a day on which the creditor's offices are open to the public for carrying on substantially all of its business functions.

(4) Card issuer. For purposes of this section, “card issuer” or “issuer” means the entity to which a consumer is legally obligated, or would be legally obligated, under the terms of a credit card agreement.

(5) Offers. For purposes of this section, an issuer “offers” or “offers to the public” an agreement if the issuer is soliciting or accepting applications for accounts that would be subject to that agreement.

(6) Open account. For purposes of this section, an account is an “open account” or “open credit card account” if it is a credit card account under an open-end (not home-secured) consumer credit plan and either:

(i) The cardholder can obtain extensions of credit on the account; or

(ii) There is an outstanding balance on the account that has not been charged off. An account that has been suspended temporarily (for example, due to a report by the cardholder of unauthorized use of the card) is considered an “open account” or “open credit card account.”

(7) Pricing information. For purposes of this section, “pricing information” means the information listed in §1026.6(b)(2)(i) through (b)(2)(xii). Pricing information does not include temporary or promotional rates and terms or rates and terms that apply only to protected balances.

(8) Private label credit card account and private label credit card plan. For purposes of this section:

(i) “private label credit card account” means a credit card account under an open-end (not home-secured) consumer credit plan with a credit card that can be used to make purchases only at a single merchant or an affiliated group of merchants; and

(ii) “private label credit card plan” means all of the private label credit card accounts issued by a particular issuer with credit cards usable at the same single merchant or affiliated group of merchants.

Official Interpretation

58(b) Definitions

58(b)(1) Agreement

1. Inclusion of pricing information. For purposes of this section, a credit card agreement is deemed to include certain information, such as annual percentage rates and fees, even if the issuer does not otherwise include this information in the basic credit contract. This information is listed under the defined term “pricing information” in §1026.58(b)(7). For example, the basic credit contract may not specify rates, fees and other information that constitutes pricing information as defined in §1026.58(b)(7); instead, such information may be provided to the cardholder in a separate document sent along with the card. However, this information nevertheless constitutes part of the agreement for purposes of §1026.58.

2. Provisions contained in separate documents included. A credit card agreement is defined as the written document or documents evidencing the terms of the legal obligation, or the prospective legal obligation, between a card issuer and a consumer for a credit card account under an open-end (not home-secured) consumer credit plan. An agreement therefore may consist of several documents that, taken together, define the legal obligation between the issuer and consumer. For example, provisions that mandate arbitration or allow an issuer to unilaterally alter the terms of the card issuer's or consumer's obligation are part of the agreement even if they are provided to the consumer in a document separate from the basic credit contract.

58(b)(2) Amends

1. Substantive changes. A change to an agreement is substantive, and therefore is deemed an amendment of the agreement, if it alters the rights or obligations of the parties. Section 1026.58(b)(2) provides that any change in the pricing information, as defined in §1026.58(b)(7), is deemed to be substantive. Examples of other changes that generally would be considered substantive include:

i. Addition or deletion of a provision giving the issuer or consumer a right under the agreement, such as a clause that allows an issuer to unilaterally change the terms of an agreement.

ii. Addition or deletion of a provision giving the issuer or consumer an obligation under the agreement, such as a clause requiring the consumer to pay an additional fee.

iii. Changes that may affect the cost of credit to the consumer, such as changes in a provision describing how the minimum payment will be calculated.

iv. Changes that may affect how the terms of the agreement are construed or applied, such as changes in a choice-of-law provision.

v. Changes that may affect the parties to whom the agreement may apply, such as provisions regarding authorized users or assignment of the agreement.

2. Non-substantive changes. Changes that generally would not be considered substantive include, for example:

i. Correction of typographical errors that do not affect the meaning of any terms of the agreement.

ii. Changes to the card issuer's corporate name, logo, or tagline.

iii. Changes to the format of the agreement, such as conversion to a booklet from a full-sheet format, changes in font, or changes in margins.

iv. Changes to the name of the credit card to which the program applies.

v. Reordering sections of the agreement without affecting the meaning of any terms of the agreement.

vi. Adding, removing, or modifying a table of contents or index.

vii. Changes to titles, headings, section numbers, or captions.

58(b)(4) Card issuer

1. Card issuer clarified. Section 1026.58(b)(4) provides that, for purposes of §1026.58, card issuer or issuer means the entity to which a consumer is legally obligated, or would be legally obligated, under the terms of a credit card agreement. For example, Bank X and Bank Y work together to issue credit cards. A consumer that obtains a credit card issued pursuant to this arrangement between Bank X and Bank Y is subject to an agreement that states “This is an agreement between you, the consumer, and Bank X that governs the terms of your Bank Y Credit Card.” The card issuer in this example is Bank X, because the agreement creates a legally enforceable obligation between the consumer and Bank X. Bank X is the issuer even if the consumer applied for the card through a link on Bank Y's Web site and the cards prominently feature the Bank Y logo on the front of the card.

2. Use of third-party service providers. An institution that is the card issuer as defined in §1026.58(b)(4) has a legal obligation to comply with the requirements of §1026.58. However, a card issuer generally may use a third-party service provider to satisfy its obligations under §1026.58, provided that the issuer acts in accordance with regulatory guidance regarding use of third-party service providers and other applicable regulatory guidance. In some cases, an issuer may wish to arrange for the institution with which it partners to issue credit cards to fulfill the requirements of §1026.58 on the issuer's behalf. For example, Retailer and Bank work together to issue credit cards. Under the §1026.58(b)(4) definition, Bank is the issuer of these credit cards for purposes of §1026.58. However, Retailer services the credit card accounts, including mailing account opening materials and periodic statements to cardholders. While Bank is responsible for ensuring compliance with §1026.58, Bank may arrange for Retailer (or another appropriate third-party service provider) to submit credit card agreements to the Bureau under §1026.58 on Bank's behalf. Bank must comply with regulatory guidance regarding use of third-party service providers and other applicable regulatory guidance.

3. Partner institution Web sites. i. As explained in comments 58(d)–2 and 58(e)–3, if an issuer provides cardholders with access to specific information about their individual accounts, such as balance information or copies of statements, through a third-party Web site, the issuer is deemed to maintain that Web site for purposes of §1026.58. Such a Web site is deemed to be maintained by the issuer for purposes of §1026.58 even where, for example, an unaffiliated entity designs the Web site and owns and maintains the information technology infrastructure that supports the Web site, cardholders with credit cards from multiple issuers can access individual account information through the same Web site, and the Web site is not labeled, branded, or otherwise held out to the public as belonging to the issuer. A partner institution's Web site is an example of a third-party Web site that may be deemed to be maintained by the issuer for purposes of §1026.58. For example, Retailer and Bank work together to issue credit cards. Under the §1026.58(b)(4) definition, Bank is the issuer of these credit cards for purposes of §1026.58. Bank does not have a Web site. However, cardholders can access information about their individual accounts, such as balance information and copies of statements, through a Web site maintained by Retailer. Retailer designs the Web site and owns and maintains the information technology infrastructure that supports the Web site. The Web site is branded and held out to the public as belonging to Retailer. Because cardholders can access information about their individual accounts through this Web site, the Web site is deemed to be maintained by Bank for purposes of §1026.58. Bank therefore may comply with §1026.58(d) by ensuring that agreements offered to the public are posted on Retailer's Web site in accordance with §1026.58(d). Bank may comply with §1026.58(e) by ensuring that cardholders can request copies of their individual agreements through Retailer's Web site in accordance with §1026.58(e)(1). Bank need not create and maintain a Web site branded and held out to the public as belonging to Bank in order to comply with §§1026.58(d) and (e) as long as Bank ensures that Retailer's Web site complies with these sections.

ii. In addition, §1026.58(d)(1) provides that, with respect to an agreement offered solely for accounts under one or more private label credit card plans, an issuer may comply with §1026.58(d) by posting the agreement on the publicly available Web site of at least one of the merchants at which credit cards issued under each private label credit card plan with 10,000 or more open accounts may be used. This rule is not conditioned on cardholders' ability to access account-specific information through the merchant's Web site.

58(b)(5) Offers

1. Cards offered to limited groups. A card issuer is deemed to offer a credit card agreement to the public even if the issuer solicits, or accepts applications from, only a limited group of persons. For example, a card issuer may market affinity cards to students and alumni of a particular educational institution, or may solicit only high-net-worth individuals for a particular card; in these cases, the agreement would be considered to be offered to the public. Similarly, agreements for credit cards issued by a credit union are considered to be offered to the public even though such cards are available only to credit union members.

2. Individualized agreements. A card issuer is deemed to offer a credit card agreement to the public even if the terms of the agreement are changed immediately upon opening of an account to terms not offered to the public.

58(b)(6) Open account

1. Open account clarified. The definition of open account includes a credit card account under an open-end (not home-secured) consumer credit plan if either (i) the cardholder can obtain extensions of credit on the account; or (ii) there is an outstanding balance on the account that has not been charged off. Under this definition, an account that meets either of these criteria is considered to be open even if the account is inactive. Similarly, if an account has been closed for new activity (for example, due to default by the cardholder), but the cardholder is still making payments to pay off the outstanding balance, the account is considered open.

58(b)(8) Private Label Credit Card Account and Private Label Credit Card Plan

1. Private label credit card account. The term private label credit card account means a credit card account under an open-end (not home-secured) consumer credit plan with a credit card that can be used to make purchases only at a single merchant or an affiliated group of merchants. This term applies to any such credit card account, regardless of whether it is issued by the merchant or its affiliate or by an unaffiliated third party.

2. Co-branded credit cards. The term private label credit card account does not include accounts with so-called co-branded credit cards. Credit cards that display the name, mark, or logo of a merchant or affiliated group of merchants as well as the mark, logo, or brand of payment network are generally referred to as co-branded cards. While these credit cards may display the brand of the merchant or affiliated group of merchants as the dominant brand on the card, such credit cards are usable at any merchant that participates in the payment network. Because these credit cards can be used at multiple unaffiliated merchants, accounts with such credit cards are not considered private label credit card accounts under §1026.58(b)(8).

3. Affiliated group of merchants. The term “affiliated group of merchants” means two or more affiliated merchants or other persons that are related by common ownership or common corporate control. For example, the term would include franchisees that are subject to a common set of corporate policies or practices under the terms of their franchise licenses. The term also applies to two or more merchants or other persons that agree among each other, by contract or otherwise, to accept a credit card bearing the same name, mark, or logo (other than the mark, logo, or brand of a payment network), for the purchase of goods or services solely at such merchants or persons. For example, several local clothing retailers jointly agree to issue credit cards called the “Main Street Fashion Card” that can be used to make purchases only at those retailers. For purposes of this section, these retailers would be considered an affiliated group of merchants.

4. Private label credit card plan. i. Which credit card accounts issued by a particular issuer constitute a private label credit card plan is determined by where the credit cards can be used. All of the private label credit card accounts issued by a particular card issuer with credit cards usable at the same merchant or affiliated group of merchants constitute a single private label credit card plan, regardless of whether the rates, fees, or other terms applicable to the individual credit card accounts differ. For example, a card issuer has 3,000 open private label credit card accounts with credit cards usable only at Merchant A and 5,000 open private label credit card accounts with credit cards usable only at Merchant B and its affiliates. The card issuer has two separate private label credit card plans, as defined by §1026.58(b)(8)—one plan consisting of 3,000 open accounts with credit cards usable only at Merchant A and another plan consisting of 5,000 open accounts with credit cards usable only at Merchant B and its affiliates.

ii. The example above remains the same regardless of whether (or the extent to which) the terms applicable to the individual open accounts differ. For example, assume that, with respect to the card issuer's 3,000 open accounts with credit cards usable only at Merchant A in the example above, 1,000 of the open accounts have a purchase APR of 12 percent, 1,000 of the open accounts have a purchase APR of 15 percent, and 1,000 of the open accounts have a purchase APR of 18 percent. All of the 5,000 open accounts with credit cards usable only at Merchant B and Merchant B's affiliates have the same 15 percent purchase APR. The card issuer still has only two separate private label credit card plans, as defined by §1026.58(b)(8). The open accounts with credit cards usable only at Merchant A do not constitute three separate private label credit card plans under §1026.58(b)(8), even though the accounts are subject to different terms.

 

(c) Submission of agreements to Bureau. (1) Quarterly submissions. A card issuer must make quarterly submissions to the Bureau, in the form and manner specified by the Bureau. Quarterly submissions must be sent to the Bureau no later than the first business day on or after January 31, April 30, July 31, and October 31 of each year. Each submission must contain:

(i) Identifying information about the card issuer and the agreements submitted, including the issuer's name, address, and identifying number (such as an RSSD ID number or tax identification number);

(ii) The credit card agreements that the card issuer offered to the public as of the last business day of the preceding calendar quarter that the card issuer has not previously submitted to the Bureau;

(iii) Any credit card agreement previously submitted to the Bureau that was amended during the preceding calendar quarter and that the card issuer offered to the public as of the last business day of the preceding calendar quarter, as described in §1026.58(c)(3); and

(iv) Notification regarding any credit card agreement previously submitted to the Bureau that the issuer is withdrawing, as described in §1026.58(c)(4), (c)(5), (c)(6), and (c)(7).

(2) [Reserved]

(3) Amended agreements. If a credit card agreement has been submitted to the Bureau, the agreement has not been amended and the card issuer continues to offer the agreement to the public, no additional submission regarding that agreement is required. If a credit card agreement that previously has been submitted to the Bureau is amended and the card issuer offered the amended agreement to the public as of the last business day of the calendar quarter in which the change became effective, the card issuer must submit the entire amended agreement to the Bureau, in the form and manner specified by the Bureau, by the first quarterly submission deadline after the last day of the calendar quarter in which the change became effective.

(4) Withdrawal of agreements. If a card issuer no longer offers to the public a credit card agreement that previously has been submitted to the Bureau, the card issuer must notify the Bureau, in the form and manner specified by the Bureau, by the first quarterly submission deadline after the last day of the calendar quarter in which the issuer ceased to offer the agreement.

(5) De minimis exception. (i) A card issuer is not required to submit any credit card agreements to the Bureau if the card issuer had fewer than 10,000 open credit card accounts as of the last business day of the calendar quarter.

(ii) If an issuer that previously qualified for the de minimis exception ceases to qualify, the card issuer must begin making quarterly submissions to the Bureau no later than the first quarterly submission deadline after the date as of which the issuer ceased to qualify.

(iii) If a card issuer that did not previously qualify for the de minimis exception qualifies for the de minimis exception, the card issuer must continue to make quarterly submissions to the Bureau until the issuer notifies the Bureau that the card issuer is withdrawing all agreements it previously submitted to the Bureau.

(6) Private label credit card exception. (i) A card issuer is not required to submit to the Bureau a credit card agreement if, as of the last business day of the calendar quarter, the agreement:

(A) Is offered for accounts under one or more private label credit card plans each of which has fewer than 10,000 open accounts; and

(B) Is not offered to the public other than for accounts under such a plan.

(ii) If an agreement that previously qualified for the private label credit card exception ceases to qualify, the card issuer must submit the agreement to the Bureau no later than the first quarterly submission deadline after the date as of which the agreement ceased to qualify.

(iii) If an agreement that did not previously qualify for the private label credit card exception qualifies for the exception, the card issuer must continue to make quarterly submissions to the Bureau with respect to that agreement until the issuer notifies the Bureau that the agreement is being withdrawn.

(7) Product testing exception. (i) A card issuer is not required to submit to the Bureau a credit card agreement if, as of the last business day of the calendar quarter, the agreement:

(A) Is offered as part of a product test offered to only a limited group of consumers for a limited period of time;

(B) Is used for fewer than 10,000 open accounts; and

(C) Is not offered to the public other than in connection with such a product test.

(ii) If an agreement that previously qualified for the product testing exception ceases to qualify, the card issuer must submit the agreement to the Bureau no later than the first quarterly submission deadline after the date as of which the agreement ceased to qualify.

(iii) If an agreement that did not previously qualify for the product testing exception qualifies for the exception, the card issuer must continue to make quarterly submissions to the Bureau with respect to that agreement until the issuer notifies the Bureau that the agreement is being withdrawn.

(8) Form and content of agreements submitted to the Bureau. (i) Form and content generally. (A) Each agreement must contain the provisions of the agreement and the pricing information in effect as of the last business day of the preceding calendar quarter.

(B) Agreements must not include any personally identifiable information relating to any cardholder, such as name, address, telephone number, or account number.

(C) The following are not deemed to be part of the agreement for purposes of §1026.58, and therefore are not required to be included in submissions to the Bureau:

( 1 ) Disclosures required by state or Federal law, such as affiliate marketing notices, privacy policies, billing rights notices, or disclosures under the E-Sign Act;

( 2 ) Solicitation materials;

( 3 ) Periodic statements;

( 4 ) Ancillary agreements between the issuer and the consumer, such as debt cancellation contracts or debt suspension agreements;

( 5 ) Offers for credit insurance or other optional products and other similar advertisements; and

( 6 ) Documents that may be sent to the consumer along with the credit card or credit card agreement such as a cover letter, a validation sticker on the card, or other information about card security.

(D) Agreements must be presented in a clear and legible font.

(ii) Pricing information. (A) Pricing information must be set forth in a single addendum to the agreement. The addendum must contain all of the pricing information, as defined by §1026.58(b)(7). The addendum may, but is not required to, contain any other information listed in §1026.6(b), provided that information is complete and accurate as of the applicable date under §1026.58. The addendum may not contain any other information.

(B) Pricing information that may vary from one cardholder to another depending on the cardholder's creditworthiness or state of residence or other factors must be disclosed either by setting forth all the possible variations (such as purchase APRs of 13 percent, 15 percent, 17 percent, and 19 percent) or by providing a range of possible variations (such as purchase APRs ranging from 13 percent to 19 percent).

(C) If a rate included in the pricing information is a variable rate, the issuer must identify the index or formula used in setting the rate and the margin. Rates that may vary from one cardholder to another must be disclosed by providing the index and the possible margins (such as the prime rate plus 5 percent, 8 percent, 10 percent, or 12 percent) or range of margins (such as the prime rate plus from 5 to 12 percent). The value of the rate and the value of the index are not required to be disclosed.

(iii) Optional variable terms addendum. Provisions of the agreement other than the pricing information that may vary from one cardholder to another depending on the cardholder's creditworthiness or state of residence or other factors may be set forth in a single addendum to the agreement separate from the pricing information addendum.

(iv) Integrated agreement. Issuers may not provide provisions of the agreement or pricing information in the form of change-in-terms notices or riders (other than the pricing information addendum and the optional variable terms addendum). Changes in provisions or pricing information must be integrated into the text of the agreement, the pricing information addendum or the optional variable terms addendum, as appropriate.

Official Interpretation

58(c) Submission of Agreements to Bureau

58(c)(1) Quarterly Submissions

1. Quarterly submission requirement. Section 1026.58(c)(1) requires card issuers to send quarterly submissions to the Bureau no later than the first business day on or after January 31, April 30, July 31, and October 31 of each year. For example, a card issuer has already submitted three credit card agreements to the Bureau. On October 15, the card issuer stops offering agreement A. On November 20, the card issuer amends agreement B. On December 1, the issuer starts offering a new agreement D. The card issuer must submit to the Bureau no later than the first business day on or after January 31 (i) notification that the card issuer is withdrawing agreement A, because it is no longer offered to the public; (ii) the amended version of agreement B; and (iii) agreement D.

2. No quarterly submission required. i. Under §1026.58(c)(1), a card issuer is not required to make any submission to the Bureau at a particular quarterly submission deadline if, during the previous calendar quarter, the card issuer did not take any of the following actions:

A. Offering a new credit card agreement that was not submitted to the Bureau previously.

B. Amending an agreement previously submitted to the Bureau.

C. Ceasing to offer an agreement previously submitted to the Bureau.

ii. For example, a card issuer offers five agreements to the public as of September 30 and submits these to the Bureau by October 31, as required by §1026.58(c)(1). Between September 30 and December 31, the card issuer continues to offer all five of these agreements to the public without amending them and does not begin offering any new agreements. The card issuer is not required to make any submission to the Bureau by the following January 31.

3. Quarterly submission of complete set of updated agreements. Section 1026.58(c)(1) permits a card issuer to submit to the Bureau on a quarterly basis a complete, updated set of the credit card agreements the card issuer offers to the public. For example, a card issuer offers agreements A, B, and C to the public as of March 31. The card issuer submits each of these agreements to the Bureau by April 30 as required by §1026.58(c)(1). On May 15, the card issuer amends agreement A, but does not make any changes to agreements B or C. As of June 30, the card issuer continues to offer amended agreement A and agreements B and C to the public. At the next quarterly submission deadline, July 31, the card issuer must submit the entire amended agreement A and is not required to make any submission with respect to agreements B and C. The card issuer may either: (i) Submit the entire amended agreement A and make no submission with respect to agreements B and C; or (ii) submit the entire amended agreement A and also resubmit agreements B and C. A card issuer may choose to resubmit to the Bureau all of the agreements it offered to the public as of a particular quarterly submission deadline even if the card issuer has not introduced any new agreements or amended any agreements since its last submission and continues to offer all previously submitted agreements.

58(c)(3) Amended Agreements

1. No requirement to resubmit agreements not amended. Under §1026.58(c)(3), if a credit card agreement has been submitted to the Bureau, the agreement has not been amended, and the card issuer continues to offer the agreement to the public, no additional submission regarding that agreement is required. For example, a credit card issuer begins offering an agreement in October and submits the agreement to the Bureau the following January 31, as required by §1026.58(c)(1). As of March 31, the card issuer has not amended the agreement and is still offering the agreement to the public. The card issuer is not required to submit anything to the Bureau regarding that agreement by April 30.

2. Submission of amended agreements. If a card issuer amends a credit card agreement previously submitted to the Bureau, §1026.58(c)(3) requires the card issuer to submit the entire amended agreement to the Bureau. The issuer must submit the amended agreement to the Bureau by the first quarterly submission deadline after the last day of the calendar quarter in which the change became effective. However, the issuer is required to submit the amended agreement to the Bureau only if the issuer offered the amended agreement to the public as of the last business day of the calendar quarter in which the change became effective. For example, a card issuer submits an agreement to the Bureau on October 31. On November 15, the issuer changes the balance computation method used under the agreement. Because an element of the pricing information has changed, the agreement has been amended for purposes of §1026.58(c)(3). On December 31, the last business day of the calendar quarter in which the change in the balance computation method became effective, the issuer still offers the agreement to the public as amended on November 15. The issuer must submit the entire amended agreement to the Bureau no later than January 31.

3. Agreements amended but no longer offered to the public. A card issuer should submit an amended agreement to the Bureau under §1026.58(c)(3) only if the issuer offered the amended agreement to the public as of the last business day of the calendar quarter in which the amendment became effective. Agreements that are not offered to the public as of the last day of the calendar quarter should not be submitted to the Bureau. For example, on December 31 a card issuer offers two agreements, Agreement A and Agreement B. The issuer submits these agreements to the Bureau by January 31 as required by §1026.58. On February 15, the issuer amends both Agreement A and Agreement B. On February 28, the issuer stops offering Agreement A to the public. On March 15, the issuer amends Agreement B a second time. As a result, on March 31, the last business day of the calendar quarter, the issuer offers to the public one agreement—Agreement B as amended on March 15. By the April 30 quarterly submission deadline, the issuer must (i) notify the Bureau that it is withdrawing Agreement A because Agreement A is no longer offered to the public; and (ii) submit to the Bureau Agreement B as amended on March 15. The issuer should not submit to the Bureau either Agreement A as amended on February 15 or the earlier version of Agreement B (as amended on February 15), as neither was offered to the public on March 31, the last business day of the calendar quarter.

4. Change-in-terms notices not permissible. Section 1026.58(c)(3) requires that if an agreement previously submitted to the Bureau is amended, the card issuer must submit the entire revised agreement to the Bureau. A card issuer may not fulfill this requirement by submitting a change-in-terms or similar notice covering only the terms that have changed. In addition, amendments must be integrated into the text of the agreement (or the addenda described in §1026.58(c)(8)), not provided as separate riders. For example, a card issuer changes the purchase APR associated with an agreement the issuer has previously submitted to the Bureau. The purchase APR for that agreement was included in the addendum of pricing information, as required by §1026.58(c)(8). The card issuer may not submit a change-in-terms or similar notice reflecting the change in APR, either alone or accompanied by the original text of the agreement and original pricing information addendum. Instead, the card issuer must revise the pricing information addendum to reflect the change in APR and submit to the Bureau the entire text of the agreement and the entire revised addendum, even though no changes have been made to the provisions of the agreement and only one item on the pricing information addendum has changed.

58(c)(4) Withdrawal of Agreements

1. Notice of withdrawal of agreement. Section 1026.58(c)(4) requires a card issuer to notify the Bureau if any agreement previously submitted to the Bureau by that issuer is no longer offered to the public by the first quarterly submission deadline after the last day of the calendar quarter in which the card issuer ceased to offer the agreement. For example, on January 5 a card issuer stops offering to the public an agreement it previously submitted to the Bureau. The card issuer must notify the Bureau that the agreement is being withdrawn by April 30, the first quarterly submission deadline after March 31, the last day of the calendar quarter in which the card issuer stopped offering the agreement.

58(c)(5) De Minimis Exception

1. Relationship to other exceptions. The de minimis exception is distinct from the private label credit card exception under §1026.58(c)(6) and the product testing exception under §1026.58(c)(7). The de minimis exception provides that a card issuer with fewer than 10,000 open credit card accounts is not required to submit any agreements to the Bureau, regardless of whether those agreements qualify for the private label credit card exception or the product testing exception. In contrast, the private label credit card exception and the product testing exception provide that a card issuer is not required to submit to the Bureau agreements offered solely in connection with certain types of credit card plans with fewer than 10,000 open accounts, regardless of the card issuer's total number of open accounts.

2. De minimis exception. Under §1026.58(c)(5), a card issuer is not required to submit any credit card agreements to the Bureau under §1026.58(c)(1) if the card issuer has fewer than 10,000 open credit card accounts as of the last business day of the calendar quarter. For example, a card issuer offers five credit card agreements to the public as of September 30. However, the card issuer has only 2,000 open credit card accounts as of September 30. The card issuer is not required to submit any agreements to the Bureau by October 31 because the issuer qualifies for the de minimis exception.

3. Date for determining whether card issuer qualifies clarified. Whether a card issuer qualifies for the de minimis exception is determined as of the last business day of each calendar quarter. For example, as of December 31, a card issuer offers three agreements to the public and has 9,500 open credit card accounts. As of January 30, the card issuer still offers three agreements, but has 10,100 open accounts. As of March 31, the card issuer still offers three agreements, but has only 9,700 open accounts. Even though the card issuer had 10,100 open accounts at one time during the calendar quarter, the card issuer qualifies for the de minimis exception because the number of open accounts was less than 10,000 as of March 31. The card issuer therefore is not required to submit any agreements to the Bureau under §1026.58(c)(1) by April 30.

4. Date for determining whether card issuer ceases to qualify clarified. Whether a card issuer has ceased to qualify for the de minimis exception under §1026.58(c)(5) is determined as of the last business day of the calendar quarter, For example, as of June 30, a card issuer offers three agreements to the public and has 9,500 open credit card accounts. The card issuer is not required to submit any agreements to the Bureau under §1026.58(c)(1) because the card issuer qualifies for the de minimis exception. As of July 15, the card issuer still offers the same three agreements, but now has 10,000 open accounts. The card issuer is not required to take any action at this time, because whether a card issuer qualifies for the de minimis exception under §1026.58(c)(5) is determined as of the last business day of the calendar quarter. As of September 30, the card issuer still offers the same three agreements and still has 10,000 open accounts. Because the card issuer had 10,000 open accounts as of September 30, the card issuer ceased to qualify for the de minimis exception and must submit the three agreements it offers to the Bureau by October 31, the next quarterly submission deadline.

5. Option to withdraw agreements clarified. Section 1026.58(c)(5) provides that if a card issuer that did not previously qualify for the de minimis exception qualifies for the de minimis exception, the card issuer must continue to make quarterly submissions to the Bureau as required by §1026.58(c)(1) until the card issuer notifies the Bureau that the issuer is withdrawing all agreements it previously submitted to the Bureau. For example, a card issuer has 10,001 open accounts and offers three agreements to the public as of December 31. The card issuer has submitted each of the three agreements to the Bureau as required under §1026.58(c)(1). As of March 31, the card issuer has only 9,999 open accounts. The card issuer has two options. First, the card issuer may notify the Bureau that the card issuer is withdrawing each of the three agreements it previously submitted. Once the card issuer has notified the Bureau, the card issuer is no longer required to make quarterly submissions to the Bureau under §1026.58(c)(1). Alternatively, the card issuer may choose not to notify the Bureau that it is withdrawing its agreements. In this case, the card issuer must continue making quarterly submissions to the Bureau as required by §1026.58(c)(1). The card issuer might choose not to withdraw its agreements if, for example, the card issuer believes that it likely will cease to qualify for the de minimis exception again in the near future.

58(c)(6) Private Label Credit Card Exception

1. Private label credit card exception. i. Under §1026.58(c)(6)(i), a card issuer is not required to submit to the Bureau a credit card agreement if, as of the last business day of the calendar quarter, the agreement (A) is offered for accounts under one or more private label credit card plans each of which has fewer than 10,000 open accounts; and (B) is not offered to the public other than for accounts under such a plan. For example, a card issuer offers to the public a credit card agreement offered solely for private label credit card accounts with credit cards that can be used only at Merchant A. The card issuer has 8,000 open accounts with such credit cards usable only at Merchant A. The card issuer is not required to submit this agreement to the Bureau under §1026.58(c)(1) because the agreement is offered for a private label credit card plan with fewer than 10,000 open accounts, and the credit card agreement is not offered to the public other than for accounts under that private label credit card plan.

ii. In contrast, assume the same card issuer also offers to the public a different credit card agreement that is offered solely for private label credit card accounts with credit cards usable only at Merchant B. The card issuer has 12,000 open accounts with such credit cards usable only at Merchant B. The private label credit card exception does not apply. Although this agreement is offered for a private label credit card plan ( i.e., the 12,000 private label credit card accounts with credit cards usable only at Merchant B), and the agreement is not offered to the public other than for accounts under that private label credit card plan, the private label credit card plan has more than 10,000 open accounts. (The card issuer still is not required to submit to the Bureau the agreement offered in connection with credit cards usable only at Merchant A, as each agreement is evaluated separately under the private label credit card exception.)

2. Card issuers with small private label and other credit card plans. Whether the private label credit card exception applies is determined on an agreement-by-agreement basis. Therefore, some agreements offered by a card issuer may qualify for the private label credit card exception even though the card issuer also offers other agreements that do not qualify, such as agreements offered for accounts with cards usable at multiple unaffiliated merchants or agreements offered for accounts under private label plans with 10,000 or more open accounts.

3. De minimis exception distinguished. The private label credit card exception under §1026.58(c)(6) is distinct from the de minimis exception under §1026.58(c)(5). The private label credit card exception exempts card issuers from submitting certain agreements to the Bureau regardless of the card issuer's overall size as measured by total number of open accounts. In contrast, the de minimis exception exempts a particular card issuer from submitting any credit card agreements to the Bureau if the card issuer has fewer than 10,000 total open accounts. For example, a card issuer offers to the public two credit card agreements. Agreement A is offered solely for private label credit card accounts with credit cards usable only at Merchant A. The card issuer has 5,000 open credit card accounts with such credit cards usable only at Merchant A. Agreement B is offered solely for credit card accounts with cards usable at multiple unaffiliated merchants that participate in a major payment network. The card issuer has 40,000 open credit card accounts with such payment network cards. The card issuer is not required to submit agreement A to the Bureau under §1026.58(c)(1) because agreement A qualifies for the private label credit card exception under §1026.58(c)(6). Agreement A is offered for accounts under a private label credit card plan with fewer than 10,000 open accounts ( i.e., the 5,000 accounts with credit cards usable only at Merchant A) and is not otherwise offered to the public. The card issuer is required to submit agreement B to the Bureau under §1026.58(c)(1). The card issuer does not qualify for the de minimis exception under §1026.58(c)(5) because it has more than 10,000 open accounts, and agreement B does not qualify for the private label credit card exception under §1026.58(c)(6) because it is not offered solely for accounts under a private label credit card plan with fewer than 10,000 open accounts.

4. Agreement otherwise offered to the public. i. An agreement qualifies for the private label exception only if it is offered for accounts under one or more private label credit card plans with fewer than 10,000 open accounts and is not offered to the public other than for accounts under such a plan. For example, a card issuer offers a single agreement to the public. The agreement is offered for private label credit card accounts with credit cards usable only at Merchant A. The card issuer has 9,000 such open accounts with credit cards usable only at Merchant A. The agreement also is offered for credit card accounts with credit cards usable at multiple unaffiliated merchants that participate in a major payment network. The agreement does not qualify for the private label credit card exception. The agreement is offered for accounts under a private label credit card plan with fewer than 10,000 open accounts. However, the agreement also is offered to the public for accounts that are not part of a private label credit card plan and therefore does not qualify for the private label credit card exception.

ii. Similarly, an agreement does not qualify for the private label credit card exception if it is offered in connection with one private label credit card plan with fewer than 10,000 open accounts and one private label credit card plan with 10,000 or more open accounts. For example, a card issuer offers a single credit card agreement to the public. The agreement is offered for two types of accounts. The first type of account is a private label credit card account with a credit card usable only at Merchant A. The second type of account is a private label credit card account with a credit card usable only at Merchant B. The card issuer has 10,000 such open accounts with credit cards usable only at Merchant A and 5,000 such open accounts with credit cards usable only at Merchant B. The agreement does not qualify for the private label credit card exception. While the agreement is offered for accounts under a private label credit card plan with fewer than 10,000 open accounts ( i.e., the 5,000 open accounts with credit cards usable only at Merchant B), the agreement is also offered for accounts not under such a plan ( i.e., the 10,000 open accounts with credit cards usable only at Merchant A).

5. Agreement used for multiple small private label plans. The private label exception applies even if the same agreement is used for more than one private label credit card plan with fewer than 10,000 open accounts. For example, a card issuer has 15,000 total open private label credit card accounts. Of these, 7,000 accounts have credit cards usable only at Merchant A, 5,000 accounts have credit cards usable only at Merchant B, and 3,000 accounts have credit cards usable only at Merchant C. The card issuer offers to the public a single credit card agreement that is offered for all three types of accounts and is not offered for any other type of account. The card issuer is not required to submit the agreement to the Bureau under §1026.58(c)(1). The agreement is used for three different private label credit card plans ( i.e., the accounts with credit cards usable at Merchant A, the accounts with credit cards usable at Merchant B, and the accounts with credit cards usable at Merchant C), each of which has fewer than 10,000 open accounts, and the card issuer does not offer the agreement for any other type of account. The agreement therefore qualifies for the private label credit card exception under §1026.58(c)(6).

6. Multiple agreements used for one private label credit card plan. The private label credit card exception applies even if a card issuer offers more than one agreement in connection with a particular private label credit card plan. For example, a card issuer has 5,000 open private label credit card accounts with credit cards usable only at Merchant A. The card issuer offers to the public three different agreements each of which may be used in connection with private label credit card accounts with credit cards usable only at Merchant A. The agreements are not offered for any other type of credit card account. The card issuer is not required to submit any of the three agreements to the Bureau under §1026.58(c)(1) because each of the agreements is used for a private label credit card plan which has fewer than 10,000 open accounts and none of the three is offered to the public other than for accounts under such a plan.

58(c)(8) Form and content of agreements submitted to the Bureau

1. “As of” date clarified. Agreements submitted to the Bureau must contain the provisions of the agreement and pricing information in effect as of the last business day of the preceding calendar quarter. For example, on June 1, a card issuer decides to decrease the purchase APR associated with one of the agreements it offers to the public. The change in the APR will become effective on August 1. If the card issuer submits the agreement to the Bureau on July 31 (for example, because the agreement has been otherwise amended), the agreement submitted should not include the new lower APR because that APR was not in effect on June 30, the last business day of the preceding calendar quarter.

2. Pricing agreement addendum. Pricing information must be set forth in the separate addendum described in §1026.58(c)(8)(ii)(A) even if it is also stated elsewhere in the agreement.

3. Pricing agreement variations do not constitute separate agreements. Pricing information that may vary from one cardholder to another depending on the cardholder's creditworthiness or state of residence or other factors must be disclosed by setting forth all the possible variations or by providing a range of possible variations. Two agreements that differ only with respect to variations in the pricing information do not constitute separate agreements for purposes of this section. For example, a card issuer offers two types of credit card accounts that differ only with respect to the purchase APR. The purchase APR for one type of account is 15 percent, while the purchase APR for the other type of account is 18 percent. The provisions of the agreement and pricing information for the two types of accounts are otherwise identical. The card issuer should not submit to the Bureau one agreement with a pricing information addendum listing a 15 percent purchase APR and another agreement with a pricing information addendum listing an 18 percent purchase APR. Instead, the card issuer should submit to the Bureau one agreement with a pricing information addendum listing possible purchase APRs of 15 or 18 percent.

4. Optional variable terms addendum. Examples of provisions that might be included in the variable terms addendum include a clause that is required by law to be included in credit card agreements in a particular state but not in other states (unless, for example, a clause is included in the agreement used for all cardholders under a heading such as “For State X Residents”), the name of the credit card plan to which the agreement applies (if this information is included in the agreement), or the name of a charitable organization to which donations will be made in connection with a particular card (if this information is included in the agreement).

5. Integrated agreement requirement. Card issuers may not provide provisions of the agreement or pricing information in the form of change-in-terms notices or riders. The only two addenda that may be submitted as part of an agreement are the pricing information addendum and optional variable terms addendum described in §1026.58(c)(8). Changes in provisions or pricing information must be integrated into the body of the agreement, pricing information addendum, or optional variable terms addendum described in §1026.58(c)(8). For example, it would be impermissible for a card issuer to submit to the Bureau an agreement in the form of a terms and conditions document dated January 1, 2005, four subsequent change in terms notices, and 2 addenda showing variations in pricing information. Instead, the card issuer must submit a document that integrates the changes made by each of the change in terms notices into the body of the original terms and conditions document and a single addendum displaying variations in pricing information.

 

(d) Posting of agreements offered to the public. (1) Except as provided below, a card issuer must post and maintain on its publicly available Web site the credit card agreements that the issuer is required to submit to the Bureau under §1026.58(c). With respect to an agreement offered solely for accounts under one or more private label credit card plans, an issuer may fulfill this requirement by posting and maintaining the agreement in accordance with the requirements of this section on the publicly available Web site of at least one of the merchants at which credit cards issued under each private label credit card plan with 10,000 or more open accounts may be used.

(2) Except as provided in §1026.58(d), agreements posted pursuant to §1026.58(d) must conform to the form and content requirements for agreements submitted to the Bureau specified in §1026.58(c)(8).

(3) Agreements posted pursuant to §1026.58(d) may be posted in any electronic format that is readily usable by the general public. Agreements must be placed in a location that is prominent and readily accessible by the public and must be accessible without submission of personally identifiable information.

(4) The card issuer must update the agreements posted on its Web site pursuant to §1026.58(d) at least as frequently as the quarterly schedule required for submission of agreements to the Bureau under §1026.58(c). If the issuer chooses to update the agreements on its Web site more frequently, the agreements posted on the issuer's Web site may contain the provisions of the agreement and the pricing information in effect as of a date other than the last business day of the preceding calendar quarter.

Official Interpretation

58(d) Posting of Agreements Offered to the Public

1. Requirement applies only to agreements submitted to the Bureau. Card issuers are only required to post and maintain on their publicly available Web site the credit card agreements that the card issuer must submit to the Bureau under §1026.58(c). If, for example, a card issuer is not required to submit any agreements to the Bureau because the card issuer qualifies for the de minimis exception under §1026.58(c)(5), the card issuer is not required to post and maintain any agreements on its Web site under §1026.58(d). Similarly, if a card issuer is not required to submit a specific agreement to the Bureau, such as an agreement that qualifies for the private label exception under §1026.58(c)(6), the card issuer is not required to post and maintain that agreement under §1026.58(d) (either on the card issuer's publicly available Web site or on the publicly available Web sites of merchants at which private label credit cards can be used). (The card issuer in both of these cases is still required to provide each individual cardholder with access to his or her specific credit card agreement under §1026.58(e) by posting and maintaining the agreement on the card issuer's Web site or by providing a copy of the agreement upon the cardholder's request.)

2. Card issuers that do not otherwise maintain Web sites. Unlike §1026.58(e), §1026.58(d) does not include a special rule for card issuers that do not otherwise maintain a Web site. If a card issuer is required to submit one or more agreements to the Bureau under §1026.58(c), that card issuer must post those agreements on a publicly available Web site it maintains (or, with respect to an agreement for a private label credit card, on the publicly available Web site of at least one of the merchants at which the card may be used, as provided in §1026.58(d)(1)). If an issuer provides cardholders with access to specific information about their individual accounts, such as balance information or copies of statements, through a third-party Web site, the issuer is considered to maintain that Web site for purposes of §1026.58. Such a third-party Web site is deemed to be maintained by the issuer for purposes of §1026.58(d) even where, for example, an unaffiliated entity designs the Web site and owns and maintains the information technology infrastructure that supports the Web site, cardholders with credit cards from multiple issuers can access individual account information through the same Web site, and the Web site is not labeled, branded, or otherwise held out to the public as belonging to the issuer. Therefore, issuers that provide cardholders with access to account-specific information through a third-party Web site can comply with §1026.58(d) by ensuring that the agreements the issuer submits to the Bureau are posted on the third-party Web site in accordance with §1026.58(d). (In contrast, the §1026.58(d)(1) rule regarding agreements for private label credit cards is not conditioned on cardholders' ability to access account-specific information through the merchant's Web site.)

3. Private label credit card plans. i. Section 1026.58(d) provides that, with respect to an agreement offered solely for accounts under one or more private label credit card plans, a card issuer may comply by posting and maintaining the agreement on the Web site of at least one of the merchants at which the cards issued under each private label credit card plan with 10,000 or more open accounts may be used. For example, a card issuer has 100,000 open private label credit card accounts. Of these, 75,000 open accounts have credit cards usable only at Merchant A and 25,000 open accounts have credit cards usable only at Merchant B and Merchant B's affiliates, Merchants C and D. The card issuer offers to the public a single credit card agreement that is offered for both of these types of accounts and is not offered for any other type of account.

ii. The card issuer is required to submit the agreement to the Bureau under §1026.58(c)(1). (The card issuer has more than 10,000 open accounts, so the §1026.58(c)(5) de minimis exception does not apply. The agreement is offered solely for two different private label credit card plans ( i.e., one plan consisting of the accounts with credit cards usable at Merchant A and one plan consisting of the accounts with credit cards usable at Merchant B and its affiliates, Merchants C and D), but both of these plans have more than 10,000 open accounts, so the §1026.58(c)(6) private label credit card exception does not apply. Finally, the agreement is not offered solely in connection with a product test by the card issuer, so the §1026.58(c)(7) product test exception does not apply.)

iii. Because the card issuer is required to submit the agreement to the Bureau under §1026.58(c)(1), the card issuer is required to post and maintain the agreement on the card issuer's publicly available Web site under §1026.58(d). However, because the agreement is offered solely for accounts under one or more private label credit card plans, the card issuer may comply with §1026.58(d) in either of two ways. First, the card issuer may comply by posting and maintaining the agreement on the card issuer's own publicly available Web site. Alternatively, the card issuer may comply by posting and maintaining the agreement on the publicly available Web site of Merchant A and the publicly available Web site of at least one of Merchants B, C and D. It would not be sufficient for the card issuer to post the agreement on Merchant A's Web site alone because §1026.58(d) requires the card issuer to post the agreement on the publicly available Web site of “at least one of the merchants at which cards issued under each private label credit card plan may be used” (emphasis added).

iv. In contrast, assume that a card issuer has 100,000 open private label credit card accounts. Of these, 5,000 open accounts have credit cards usable only at Merchant A and 95,000 open accounts have credit cards usable only at Merchant B and Merchant B's affiliates, Merchants C and D. The card issuer offers to the public a single credit card agreement that is offered for both of these types of accounts and is not offered for any other type of account.

v. The card issuer is required to submit the agreement to the Bureau under §1026.58(c)(1). (The card issuer has more than 10,000 open accounts, so the §1026.58(c)(5) de minimis exception does not apply. The agreement is offered solely for two different private label credit card plans ( i.e., one plan consisting of the accounts with credit cards usable at Merchant A and one plan consisting of the accounts with credit cards usable at Merchant B and its affiliates, Merchants C and D), but one of these plans has more than 10,000 open accounts, so the §1026.58(c)(6) private label credit card exception does not apply. Finally, the agreement is not offered solely in connection with a product test by the card issuer, so the §1026.58(c)(7) product test exception does not apply.)

vi. Because the card issuer is required to submit the agreement to the Bureau under §1026.58(c)(1), the card issuer is required to post and maintain the agreement on the card issuer's publicly available Web site under §1026.58(d). However, because the agreement is offered solely for accounts under one or more private label credit card plans, the card issuer may comply with §1026.58(d) in either of two ways. First, the card issuer may comply by posting and maintaining the agreement on the card issuer's own publicly available Web site. Alternatively, the card issuer may comply by posting and maintaining the agreement on the publicly available Web site of at least one of Merchants B, C and D. The card issuer is not required to post and maintain the agreement on the publicly available Web site of Merchant A because the card issuer's private label credit card plan consisting of accounts with cards usable only at Merchant A has fewer than 10,000 open accounts.

 

(e) Agreements for all open accounts. (1) Availability of individual cardholder's agreement. With respect to any open credit card account, a card issuer must either:

(i) Post and maintain the cardholder's agreement on its Web site; or

(ii) Promptly provide a copy of the cardholder's agreement to the cardholder upon the cardholder's request. If the card issuer makes an agreement available upon request, the issuer must provide the cardholder with the ability to request a copy of the agreement both by using the issuer's Web site (such as by clicking on a clearly identified box to make the request) and by calling a readily available telephone line the number for which is displayed on the issuer's Web site and clearly identified as to purpose. The card issuer must send to the cardholder or otherwise make available to the cardholder a copy of the cardholder's agreement in electronic or paper form no later than 30 days after the issuer receives the cardholder's request.

(2) Special rule for issuers without interactive Web sites. An issuer that does not maintain a Web site from which cardholders can access specific information about their individual accounts, instead of complying with §1026.58(e)(1), may make agreements available upon request by providing the cardholder with the ability to request a copy of the agreement by calling a readily available telephone line, the number for which is displayed on the issuer's Web site and clearly identified as to purpose or included on each periodic statement sent to the cardholder and clearly identified as to purpose. The issuer must send to the cardholder or otherwise make available to the cardholder a copy of the cardholder's agreement in electronic or paper form no later than 30 days after the issuer receives the cardholder's request.

(3) Form and content of agreements. (i) Except as provided in §1026.58(e), agreements posted on the card issuer's Web site pursuant to §1026.58(e)(1)(i) or made available upon the cardholder's request pursuant to §1026.58(e)(1)(ii) or (e)(2) must conform to the form and content requirements for agreements submitted to the Bureau specified in §1026.58(c)(8).

(ii) If the card issuer posts an agreement on its Web site or otherwise provides an agreement to a cardholder electronically under §1026.58(e), the agreement may be posted or provided in any electronic format that is readily usable by the general public and must be placed in a location that is prominent and readily accessible to the cardholder.

(iii) Agreements posted or otherwise provided pursuant to §1026.58(e) may contain personally identifiable information relating to the cardholder, such as name, address, telephone number, or account number, provided that the issuer takes appropriate measures to make the agreement accessible only to the cardholder or other authorized persons.

(iv) Agreements posted or otherwise provided pursuant to §1026.58(e) must set forth the specific provisions and pricing information applicable to the particular cardholder. Provisions and pricing information must be complete and accurate as of a date no more than 60 days prior to:

(A) The date on which the agreement is posted on the card issuer's Web site under §1026.58(e)(1)(i); or

(B) The date the cardholder's request is received under §1026.58(e)(1)(ii) or (e)(2).

(v) Agreements provided upon cardholder request pursuant to §1026.58(e)(1)(ii) or (e)(2) may be provided by the issuer in either electronic or paper form, regardless of the form of the cardholder's request.

Official Interpretation

58(e) Agreements for All Open Accounts

1. Requirement applies to all open accounts. The requirement to provide access to credit card agreements under §1026.58(e) applies to all open credit card accounts, regardless of whether such agreements are required to be submitted to the Bureau pursuant to §1026.58(c) (or posted on the card issuer's Web site pursuant to §1026.58(d)). For example, a card issuer that is not required to submit agreements to the Bureau because it qualifies for the de minimis exception under §1026.58(c)(5)) would still be required to provide cardholders with access to their specific agreements under §1026.58(e). Similarly, an agreement that is no longer offered to the public would not be required to be submitted to the Bureau under §1026.58(c), but would still need to be provided to the cardholder to whom it applies under §1026.58(e).

2. Readily available telephone line. Section 1026.58(e) provides that card issuers that provide copies of cardholder agreements upon request must provide the cardholder with the ability to request a copy of their agreement by calling a readily available telephone line. To satisfy the readily available standard, the financial institution must provide enough telephone lines so that consumers get a reasonably prompt response. The institution need only provide telephone service during normal business hours. Within its primary service area, an institution must provide a local or toll-free telephone number. It need not provide a toll-free number or accept collect long-distance calls from outside the area where it normally conducts business.

3. Issuers without interactive Web sites. Section 1026.58(e)(2) provides that a card issuer that does not maintain a Web site from which cardholders can access specific information about their individual accounts is not required to provide a cardholder with the ability to request a copy of the agreement by using the card issuer's Web site. A card issuer without a Web site of any kind could comply by disclosing the telephone number on each periodic statement; a card issuer with a non-interactive Web site could comply in the same way, or alternatively could comply by displaying the telephone number on the card issuer's Web site. An issuer is considered to maintain an interactive Web site for purposes of the §1026.58(e)(2) special rule if the issuer provide cardholders with access to specific information about their individual accounts, such as balance information or copies of statements, through a third-party interactive Web site. Such a Web site is deemed to be maintained by the issuer for purposes of §1026.58(e)(2) even where, for example, an unaffiliated entity designs the Web site and owns and maintains the information technology infrastructure that supports the Web site, cardholders with credit cards from multiple issuers can access individual account information through the same Web site, and the Web site is not labeled, branded, or otherwise held out to the public as belonging to the issuer. An issuer that provides cardholders with access to specific information about their individual accounts through such a Web site is not permitted to comply with the special rule in §1026.58(e)(2). Instead, such an issuer must comply with §1026.58(e)(1).

4. Deadline for providing requested agreements clarified. Sections 1026.58(e)(1)(ii) and (e)(2) require that credit card agreements provided upon request must be sent to the cardholder or otherwise made available to the cardholder in electronic or paper form no later than 30 days after the cardholder's request is received. For example, if a card issuer chooses to respond to a cardholder's request by mailing a paper copy of the cardholder's agreement, the card issuer must mail the agreement no later than 30 days after receipt of the cardholder's request. Alternatively, if a card issuer chooses to respond to a cardholder's request by posting the cardholder's agreement on the card issuer's Web site, the card issuer must post the agreement on its Web site no later than 30 days after receipt of the cardholder's request. Section 1026.58(e)(3)(v) provides that a card issuer may provide cardholder agreements in either electronic or paper form regardless of the form of the cardholder's request.

 

(f) E-Sign Act requirements. Card issuers may provide credit card agreements in electronic form under §1026.58(d) and (e) without regard to the consumer notice and consent requirements of section 101(c) of the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-Sign Act) (15 U.S.C. 7001 et seq. ).

(g) Temporary suspension of agreement submission requirement—(1) Quarterly submissions. The quarterly submission requirement in paragraph (c) of this section is suspended for the submissions that would otherwise be due to the Bureau by the first business day on or after April 30, 2015; July 31, 2015; October 31, 2015; and January 31, 2016.

(2) Posting of agreements offered to the public. Nothing in paragraph (g)(1) of this section shall affect the agreement posting requirements in paragraph (d) of this section.

Official Interpretation

58(g) Temporary Suspension of Agreement Submission Requirement

1. Suspended quarterly submission requirement. Pursuant to § 1026.58(g)(1), card issuers are not required to make quarterly submissions to the Bureau, as otherwise required by § 1026.58(c), for the submissions that would otherwise be due by the first business day on or after April 30, 2015; July 31, 2015; October 31, 2015; and January 31, 2016. Specifically, a card issuer is not required to submit information about the issuer and its agreements pursuant to § 1026.58(c)(1)(i), new credit card agreements pursuant to § 1026.58(c)(1)(ii), amended agreements pursuant to § 1026.58(c)(1)(iii) and (c)(3), or notification of withdrawn agreements pursuant to § 1026.58(c)(1)(iv) and (c)(4) through (7) for those four quarters.

2. Resuming submission of credit card agreements to the Bureau. Beginning with the submission due on the first business day on or after April 30, 2016, card issuers shall resume submitting credit card agreements on a quarterly basis to the Bureau pursuant to § 1026.58(c). A card issuer shall submit agreements for the prior calendar quarter (that is, the calendar quarter ending March 31, 2016), as specified in § 1026.58(c)(1)(ii) through (iv) and (c)(3) through (7), to the Bureau no later than the first business day on or after April 30, 2016.

i. Specifically, the submission due on the first business day on or after April 30, 2016 shall contain, as applicable:

A. Identifying information about the card issuer and the agreements submitted, including the issuer's name, address, and identifying number (such as an RSSD ID number or tax identification number), pursuant to § 1026.58(c)(1)(i);

B. The credit card agreements that the card issuer offered to the public as of the last business day of the calendar quarter ending March 31, 2016 that the card issuer had not previously submitted to the Bureau as of the first business day on or after January 31, 2015, pursuant to § 1026.58(c)(1)(ii);

C. Any credit card agreement previously submitted to the Bureau that was amended since the last business day of the calendar quarter ending December 31, 2014 and that the card issuer offered to the public as of the last business day of the calendar quarter ending March 31, 2016, pursuant to § 1026.58(c)(1)(iii) and (c)(3); and

D. Notification regarding any credit card agreement previously submitted to the Bureau that the issuer is withdrawing, pursuant to § 1026.58(c)(1)(iv) and (c)(4) through (7).

ii. In lieu of the submission described in comment 58(g)-2.i.B through D, § 1026.58(c)(1) permits a card issuer to submit to the Bureau a complete, updated set of the credit card agreements the card issuer offered to the public as of the calendar quarter ending March 31, 2016. See comment 58(c)(1)-3.

3. Continuing obligation to post agreements on a card issuer's own Web site. Section 1026.58(d) requires a card issuer to post and maintain on its publicly available Web site the credit card agreements that the issuer is required to submit to the Bureau under § 1026.58(c). Pursuant to § 1026.58(g)(2), during the temporary suspension period set forth in § 1026.58(g)(1), a card issuer shall continue to post its agreements to its own publicly available Web site as required by § 1026.58(d) using the agreements it would have otherwise submitted to the Bureau under § 1026.58(c). For example, for purposes of § 1026.58(d)(4), a card issuer must continue to update the agreements posted on its own Web site at least as frequently as the quarterly schedule required for submission of agreements to the Bureau set forth in § 1026.58(c)(1), notwithstanding the temporary suspension of submission requirements in § 1026.58(g)(1). Similarly, for purposes of § 1026.58(d)(2), agreements posted by a card issuer on its own Web site must continue to conform to the form and content requirements set forth in § 1026.58(c)(8).

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