The OCC has issued a new booklet entitled Electronic Fund Transfer Act–Regulation E in the Comptroller’s Handbook that updates examination procedures and incorporates recent changes that the Federal Reserve has made to Regulation E regarding overdraft services, gift cards, and electronic signatures. The new examination guidance replaces the sections of the “Depository Services” booklet in the Comptroller’s Handbook that addressed Regulation E and the Electronic Fund Transfer Act. The overdraft services rule limits the ability of a financial institution to assess overdraft fees for paying automated teller machine and one-time debit card transactions that overdraw a consumer’s account unless the consumer affirmatively consents, or opts in, to the institution’s payment of overdrafts for those transactions. The rule also prohibits financial institutions from discriminating against consumers who do not opt in. The overdraft services rule requires institutions to provide consumers who do not opt in with the same account terms, conditions, and features (including pricing) that they provide to consumers who do opt in. The final overdraft rules became effective on July 1, 2010 for new account holders and on August 15, 2010 for existing account holders.
Nutter Notes: The gift card rule prohibits dormancy, inactivity, and service fees on gift cards unless the consumer has not used the gift certificate or card for at least one year, no more than one such fee is charged per month, and the consumer is given clear and conspicuous disclosures about the fees. In addition, the gift card rule prohibits the sale or issuance of gift certificates and cards if they are subject to an expiration date earlier than five years from the date of issuance, for gift certificates, or five years from the date on which the funds were last loaded to a store gift card or general-use prepaid card. The final gift card rule became effective on August 22, 2010. The new OCC examination guidance also addresses changes made to Regulation E that simplify and clarify requirements regarding e-communication and the relationship of the regulation to the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act.