New Consumer Protection Agency Launches Website & Targets Prepaid Card Fees

Ramping up for a July 21st start date, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has launched a new website and is asking for public comment. As interim chief, Elizabeth Warren, appointed by the Obama Administration as Special Adviser to the Secretary of the Treasury, and the CFPB are working to identify issues they will tackle including prepaid debit card fees.

The recently developed CFPB website appears to have a clean, simple design geared to the average consumer with basic information about the Bureau, consumer protection, how to get help, suggestions and a blog. Also included are links to Facebook and Twitter. Several pages including short videos can be found on the site reinforcing the main purpose of the Bureau:

“To make sure consumers have the information they need to choose the consumer financial products and services that are best for them.”

The CFPB was created last year as a part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act designed to protect consumers by carrying out Federal consumer financial laws. In July of 2011, the CFPB will open its doors with the central mission to educate the consumer, enforce financial laws and study the markets. Although not yet “officially” in business, the CFPB has made clear that, along with mortgages and credit cards, the Bureau will focus on the prepaid industry fee structures as well.

In a February 3rd, 2011 Bloomberg Article, Warren was quoted from a letter to Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) regarding prepaid debit card regulation:

“We need prudent regulation to stimulate a transparent and competitive marketplace in which consumers are able to understand the product, figure out the costs, and comparison shop for the products that best meet their needs.”

Recent events including the lingering effects of the Kardashian Kard, subsequent clear and competitive pricing announcements by several prepaid card issuers, and the launch of the CFPB almost guarantee that 2011 will be an interesting year for the prepaid debit card industry.

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