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§ 1005.30 Remittance transfer definitions.

This version is the current regulation

Except as otherwise provided, for purposes of this subpart, the following definitions apply:

(a) “Agent” means an agent, authorized delegate, or person affiliated with a remittance transfer provider, as defined under State or other applicable law, when such agent, authorized delegate, or affiliate acts for that remittance transfer provider.

(b) “Business day” means any day on which the offices of a remittance transfer provider are open to the public for carrying on substantially all business functions.

1. General. A business day, as defined in § 1005.30(b), includes the entire 24-hour period ending at midnight, and a notice given pursuant to any section of subpart B is effective even if given outside of normal business hours. A remittance transfer provider is not required under subpart B to make telephone lines available on a 24-hour basis.

2. Substantially all business functions. “Substantially all business functions” include both the public and the back-office operations of the provider. For example, if the offices of a provider are open on Saturdays for customers to request remittance transfers, but not for performing internal functions (such as investigating errors), then Saturday is not a business day for that provider. In this case, Saturday does not count toward the business-day standard set by subpart B for resolving errors, processing refunds, etc.

3. Short hours. A provider may determine, at its election, whether an abbreviated day is a business day. For example, if a provider engages in substantially all business functions until noon on Saturdays instead of its usual 3 p.m. closing, it may consider Saturday a business day.

4. Telephone line. If a provider makes a telephone line available on Sundays for cancelling the transfer, but performs no other business functions, Sunday is not a business day under the “substantially all business functions” standard.

See interpretation of 30(b) Business Day in Supplement I

(c) “Designated recipient” means any person specified by the sender as the authorized recipient of a remittance transfer to be received at a location in a foreign country.

1. Person. A designated recipient can be either a natural person or an organization, such as a corporation. See § 1005.2(j) (definition of person). The designated recipient is identified by the name of the person provided by the sender to the remittance transfer provider and disclosed by the provider to the sender pursuant to § 1005.31(b)(1)(iii).

2. Location in a foreign country. i. A remittance transfer is received at a location in a foreign country if funds are to be received at a location physically outside of any State, as defined in § 1005.2(l). A specific pick-up location need not be designated for funds to be received at a location in a foreign country. If it is specified that the funds will be transferred to a foreign country to be picked up by the designated recipient, the transfer will be received at a location in a foreign country, even though a specific pick-up location within that country has not been designated. If it is specified that the funds will be received at a location on a U.S. military installation that is physically located in a foreign country, the transfer will be received in a State.

ii. For transfers to a designated recipient's account, whether funds are to be received at a location physically outside of any State depends on where the recipient's account is located. If the account is located in a State, the funds will not be received at a location in a foreign country. Accounts that are located on a U.S. military installation that is physically located in a foreign country are located in a State.

iii. Where the sender does not specify information about a designated recipient's account, but instead provides information about the recipient, a remittance transfer provider may make the determination of whether the funds will be received at a location in a foreign country on information that is provided by the sender, and other information the provider may have, at the time the transfer is requested. For example, if a consumer in a State gives a provider the recipient's email address, and the provider has no other information about whether the funds will be received by the recipient at a location in a foreign country, then the provider may determine that funds are not to be received at a location in a foreign country. However, if the provider at the time the transfer is requested has additional information indicating that funds are to be received in a foreign country, such as if the recipient's email address is already registered with the provider and associated with a foreign account, then the provider has sufficient information to conclude that the remittance transfer will be received at a location in a foreign country. Similarly, if a consumer in a State purchases a prepaid card, and the provider mails or delivers the card directly to the consumer, the provider may conclude that funds are not to be received in a foreign country, because the provider does not know whether the consumer will subsequently send the prepaid card to a recipient in a foreign country. In contrast, the provider has sufficient information to conclude that the funds are to be received in a foreign country if the remittance transfer provider sends a prepaid card to a specified recipient in a foreign country, even if a person located in a State, including the sender, retains the ability to access funds on the prepaid card.

3. Sender as designated recipient. A “sender,” as defined in § 1005.30(g), may also be a designated recipient if the sender meets the definition of “designated recipient” in § 1005.30(c). For example, a sender may request that a provider send an electronic transfer of funds from the sender's checking account in a State to the sender's checking account located in a foreign country. In this case, the sender would also be a designated recipient.

See interpretation of 30(c) Designated Recipient in Supplement I

(d) “Preauthorized remittance transfer” means a remittance transfer authorized in advance to recur at substantially regular intervals.

1. Advance authorization. A preauthorized remittance transfer is a remittance transfer authorized in advance of a transfer that will take place on a recurring basis, at substantially regular intervals, and will require no further action by the consumer to initiate the transfer. In a bill-payment system, for example, if the consumer authorizes a remittance transfer provider to make monthly payments to a payee by means of a remittance transfer, and the payments take place without further action by the consumer, the payments are preauthorized remittance transfers. In contrast, if the consumer must take action each month to initiate a transfer (such as by entering instructions on a telephone or home computer), the payments are not preauthorized remittance transfers.

See interpretation of 30(d) Preauthorized Remittance Transfer in Supplement I

(e) Remittance transfer

1. Electronic transfer of funds. The definition of “remittance transfer” requires an electronic transfer of funds. The term electronic has the meaning given in section 106(2) of the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act. There may be an electronic transfer of funds if a provider makes an electronic book entry between different settlement accounts to effectuate the transfer. However, where a sender mails funds directly to a recipient, or provides funds to a courier for delivery to a foreign country, there is not an electronic transfer of funds. Similarly, generally, where a provider issues a check, draft, or other paper instrument to be mailed to a person abroad, there is not an electronic transfer of funds. Nonetheless, an electronic transfer of funds occurs for a payment made by a provider under a bill-payment service available to a consumer via computer or other electronic means, unless the terms of the bill-payment service explicitly state that all payments, or all payments to a particular payee or payees, will be solely by check, draft, or similar paper instrument drawn on the consumer's account to be mailed abroad, and the payee or payees that will be paid in this manner are identified to the consumer. With respect to such a bill-payment service, if a provider provides a check, draft or similar paper instrument drawn on a consumer's account to be mailed abroad for a payee that is not identified to the consumer as described above, this payment by check, draft or similar payment instrument will be an electronic transfer of funds.

2. Sent by a remittance transfer provider. i. The definition of “remittance transfer” requires that a transfer be “sent by a remittance transfer provider.” This means that there must be an intermediary that is directly engaged with the sender to send an electronic transfer of funds on behalf of the sender to a designated recipient.

ii. A payment card network or other third party payment service that is functionally similar to a payment card network does not send a remittance transfer when a consumer provides a debit, credit or prepaid card directly to a foreign merchant as payment for goods or services. In such a case, the payment card network or third party payment service is not directly engaged with the sender to send a transfer of funds to a person in a foreign country; rather, the network or third party payment service is merely providing contemporaneous third-party payment processing and settlement services on behalf of the merchant or the card issuer, rather than on behalf of the sender. In such a case, the card issuer also is not directly engaged with the sender to send an electronic transfer of funds to the foreign merchant when the card issuer provides payment to the merchant. Similarly, where a consumer provides a checking or other account number, or a debit, credit or prepaid card, directly to a foreign merchant as payment for goods or services, the merchant is not acting as an intermediary that sends a transfer of funds on behalf of the sender when it submits the payment information for processing.

iii. However, a card issuer or a payment network may offer a service to a sender where the card issuer or a payment network is an intermediary that is directly engaged with the sender to obtain funds using the sender's debit, prepaid or credit card and to send those funds to a recipient's checking account located in a foreign country. In this case, the card issuer or the payment network is an intermediary that is directly engaged with the sender to send an electronic transfer of funds on behalf of the sender, and this transfer of funds is a remittance transfer because it is made to a designated recipient. See comment 30(c)-2.ii.

3. Examples of remittance transfers.

i. Examples of remittance transfers include:

A. Transfers where the sender provides cash or another method of payment to a money transmitter or financial institution and requests that funds be sent to a specified location or account in a foreign country.

B. Consumer wire transfers, where a financial institution executes a payment order upon a sender's request to wire money from the sender's account to a designated recipient.

C. An addition of funds to a prepaid card by a participant in a prepaid card program, such as a prepaid card issuer or its agent, that is directly engaged with the sender to add these funds, where the prepaid card is sent or was previously sent by a participant in the prepaid card program to a person in a foreign country, even if a person located in a State (including a sender) retains the ability to withdraw such funds.

D. International ACH transactions sent by the sender's financial institution at the sender's request.

E. Online bill payments and other electronic transfers that a sender schedules in advance, including preauthorized remittance transfers, made by the sender's financial institution at the sender's request to a designated recipient.

ii. The term remittance transfer does not include, for example:

A. A consumer's provision of a debit, credit or prepaid card, directly to a foreign merchant as payment for goods or services because the issuer is not directly engaged with the sender to send an electronic transfer of funds to the foreign merchant when the issuer provides payment to the merchant. See comment 30(e)-2.

B. A consumer's deposit of funds to a checking or savings account located in a State, because there has not been a transfer of funds to a designated recipient. See comment 30(c)-2.ii.

C. Online bill payments and other electronic transfers that senders can schedule in advance, including preauthorized transfers, made through the Web site of a merchant located in a foreign country and via direct provision of a checking account, credit card, debit card or prepaid card number to the merchant, because the financial institution is not directly engaged with the sender to send an electronic transfer of funds to the foreign merchant when the institution provides payment to the merchant. See comment 30(e)-2.

See interpretation of 30(e) Remittance Transfer in Supplement I

(1) General definition. A “remittance transfer” means the electronic transfer of funds requested by a sender to a designated recipient that is sent by a remittance transfer provider. The term applies regardless of whether the sender holds an account with the remittance transfer provider, and regardless of whether the transaction is also an electronic fund transfer, as defined in § 1005.3(b).

(2) Exclusions from coverage. The term “remittance transfer” does not include:

(i) Small value transactions. Transfer amounts, as described in § 1005.31(b)(1)(i), of $15 or less.

(ii) Securities and commodities transfers. Any transfer that is excluded from the definition of electronic fund transfer under § 1005.3(c)(4).

(f) Remittance transfer provider

1. Agents. A person is not deemed to be acting as a remittance transfer provider when it performs activities as an agent on behalf of a remittance transfer provider.

2. Normal course of business.

i. General. Whether a person provides remittance transfers in the normal course of business depends on the facts and circumstances, including the total number and frequency of remittance transfers sent by the provider. For example, if a financial institution generally does not make remittance transfers available to customers, but sends a couple of such transfers in a given year as an accommodation for a customer, the institution does not provide remittance transfers in the normal course of business. In contrast, if a financial institution makes remittance transfers generally available to customers (whether described in the institution's deposit account agreement, or in practice) and makes transfers many times per month, the institution provides remittance transfers in the normal course of business.

ii. Safe harbor. Under § 1005.30(f)(2)(i), a person that provided 100 or fewer remittance transfers in the previous calendar year and provides 100 or fewer remittance transfers in the current calendar year is deemed not to be providing remittance transfers in the normal course of its business. Accordingly, a person that qualifies for the safe harbor in § 1005.30(f)(2)(i) is not a “remittance transfer provider” and is not subject to the requirements of subpart B. For purposes of determining whether a person qualifies for the safe harbor under § 1005.30(f)(2)(i), the number of remittance transfers provided includes any transfers excluded from the definition of “remittance transfer” due simply to the safe harbor. In contrast, the number of remittance transfers provided does not include any transfers that are excluded from the definition of “remittance transfer” for reasons other than the safe harbor, such as small value transactions or securities and commodities transfers that are excluded from the definition of “remittance transfer” by § 1005.30(e)(2).

iii. Transition period. A person may cease to satisfy the requirements of the safe harbor described in § 1005.30(f)(2)(i) if the person provides in excess of 100 remittance transfers in a calendar year. For example, if a person that provided 100 or fewer remittance transfers in the previous calendar year provides more than 100 remittance transfers in the current calendar year, the safe harbor applies to the first 100 remittance transfers that the person provides in the current calendar year. For any additional remittance transfers provided in the current calendar year and for any remittance transfers provided in the subsequent calendar year, whether the person provides remittance transfers for a consumer in the normal course of its business, as defined in § 1005.30(f)(1), and is thus a remittance transfer provider for those additional transfers, depends on the facts and circumstances. Section 1005.30(f)(2)(ii) provides a reasonable period of time, not to exceed six months, for such a person to begin complying with subpart B, if that person is then providing remittance transfers in the normal course of its business. At the end of that reasonable period of time, such person would be required to comply with subpart B unless, based on the facts and circumstances, the person is not a remittance transfer provider.

iv. Example of safe harbor and transition period. Assume that a person provided 90 remittance transfers in 2012 and 90 such transfers in 2013. The safe harbor will apply to the person's transfers in 2013, as well as the person's first 100 remittance transfers in 2014. However, if the person provides a 101st transfer on September 5, the facts and circumstances determine whether the person provides remittance transfers in the normal course of business and is thus a remittance transfer provider for the 101st and any subsequent remittance transfers that it provides in 2014. Furthermore, the person would not qualify for the safe harbor described in § 1005.30(f)(2)(i) in 2015 because the person did not provide 100 or fewer remittance transfers in 2014. However, for the 101st remittance transfer provided in 2014, as well as additional remittance transfers provided thereafter in 2014 and 2015, if that person is then providing remittance transfers for a consumer in the normal course of business, the person will have a reasonable period of time, not to exceed six months, to come into compliance with subpart B. Assume that in this case, a reasonable period of time is six months. Thus, compliance with subpart B is not required for remittance transfers made on or before March 5, 2015 (i.e., six months after September 5, 2014). After March 5, 2015, the person is required to comply with subpart B if, based on the facts and circumstances, the person provides remittance transfers in the normal course of business and is thus a remittance transfer provider.

3. Multiple remittance transfer providers. If the remittance transfer involves more than one remittance transfer provider, only one set of disclosures must be given, and the remittance transfer providers must agree among themselves which provider must take the actions necessary to comply with the requirements that subpart B imposes on any or all of them. Even though the providers must designate one provider to take the actions necessary to comply with the requirements that subpart B imposes on any or all of them, all remittance transfer providers involved in the remittance transfer remain responsible for compliance with the applicable provisions of the EFTA and Regulation E.

See interpretation of 30(f) Remittance Transfer Provider in Supplement I

(1) General definition. “Remittance transfer provider” or “provider” means any person that provides remittance transfers for a consumer in the normal course of its business, regardless of whether the consumer holds an account with such person.

(2) Normal course of business

(i) Safe harbor. For purposes of paragraph (f)(1) of this section, a person is deemed not to be providing remittance transfers for a consumer in the normal course of its business if the person:

(A) Provided 100 or fewer remittance transfers in the previous calendar year; and

(B) Provides 100 or fewer remittance transfers in the current calendar year.

(ii) Transition period. If a person that provided 100 or fewer remittance transfers in the previous calendar year provides more than 100 remittance transfers in the current calendar year, and if that person is then providing remittance transfers for a consumer in the normal course of its business pursuant to paragraph (f)(1) of this section, the person has a reasonable period of time, not to exceed six months, to begin complying with this subpart. Compliance with this subpart will not be required for any remittance transfers for which payment is made during that reasonable period of time.

(g) “Sender” means a consumer in a State who primarily for personal, family, or household purposes requests a remittance transfer provider to send a remittance transfer to a designated recipient.

1. Determining whether a consumer is located in a State. Under § 1005.30(g), the definition of “sender” means a consumer in a State who, primarily for personal, family, or household purposes, requests a remittance transfer provider to send a remittance transfer to a designated recipient. A sender located on a U.S. military installation that is physically located in a foreign country is located in a State. For transfers from a consumer's account, whether a consumer is located in a State depends on where the consumer's account is located. If the account is located in a State, the consumer will be located in a State for purposes of the definition of “sender” in § 1005.30(g), notwithstanding comment 3(a)-3. Accounts that are located on a U.S. military installation that is physically located in a foreign country are located in a State. Where a transfer is requested electronically or by telephone and the transfer is not from an account, the provider may make the determination of whether a consumer is located in a State based on information that is provided by the consumer and on any records associated with the consumer that the provider may have, such as an address provided by the consumer.

2. Personal, family, or household purposes. Under § 1005.30(g), a consumer is a “sender” only where he or she requests a transfer primarily for personal, family, or household purposes. A consumer who requests a transfer primarily for other purposes, such as business or commercial purposes, is not a sender under § 1005.30(g). For transfers from an account that was established primarily for personal, family, or household purposes, a remittance transfer provider may generally deem that the transfer is requested primarily for personal, family, or household purposes and the consumer is therefore a “sender” under § 1005.30(g). But if the consumer indicates that he or she is requesting the transfer primarily for other purposes, such as business or commercial purposes, then the consumer is not a sender under § 1005.30(g), even if the consumer is requesting the transfer from an account that is used primarily for personal, family, or household purposes.

3. Non-consumer accounts. A provider may deem that a transfer that is requested to be sent from an account that was not established primarily for personal, family, or household purposes, such as an account that was established as a business or commercial account or an account held by a business entity such as a corporation, not-for-profit corporation, professional corporation, limited liability company, partnership, or sole proprietorship, as not being requested primarily for personal, family, or household purposes. A consumer requesting a transfer from such an account therefore is not a sender under § 1005.30(g). Additionally, a transfer that is requested to be sent from an account held by a financial institution under a bona fide trust agreement pursuant to § 1005.2(b)(3) is not requested primarily for personal, family, or household purposes, and a consumer requesting a transfer from such an account is therefore not a sender under § 1005.30(g).

See interpretation of 30(g) Sender in Supplement I

(h) Third-party fees.

1. Fees imposed on the remittance transfer. Fees imposed on the remittance transfer by a person other than the remittance transfer provider include only those fees that are charged to the designated recipient and are specifically related to the remittance transfer. For example, overdraft fees that are imposed by a recipient's bank or funds that are garnished from the proceeds of a remittance transfer to satisfy an unrelated debt are not fees imposed on the remittance transfer because these charges are not specifically related to the remittance transfer. Account fees are also not specifically related to a remittance transfer if such fees are merely assessed based on general account activity and not for receiving transfers. Where an incoming remittance transfer results in a balance increase that triggers a monthly maintenance fee, that fee is not specifically related to a remittance transfer. Similarly, fees that banks charge one another for handling a remittance transfer or other fees that do not affect the total amount of the transaction or the amount that will be received by the designated recipient are not fees imposed on the remittance transfer. For example, an interchange fee that is charged to a provider when a sender uses a credit or debit card to pay for a remittance transfer is not a fee imposed upon the remittance transfer. Fees that specifically relate to a remittance transfer may be structured on a flat per-transaction basis, or may be conditioned on other factors (such as account status or the quantity of remittance transfers received) in addition to the remittance transfer itself. For example, where an institution charges an incoming transfer fee on most customers' accounts, but not on preferred accounts, such a fee is nonetheless specifically related to a remittance transfer. Similarly, if the institution assesses a fee for every transfer beyond the fifth received each month, such a fee would be specifically related to the remittance transfer regardless of how many remittance transfers preceded it that month.

2. Covered third-party fees. i. Under § 1005.30(h)(1), a covered third-party fee means any fee that is imposed on the remittance transfer by a person other than the remittance transfer provider that is not a non-covered third-party fee.

ii. Examples of covered third-party fees include:

A. Fees imposed on a remittance transfer by intermediary institutions in connection with a wire transfer (sometimes referred to as “lifting fees”).

B. Fees imposed on a remittance transfer by an agent of the provider at pick-up for receiving the transfer.

3. Non-covered third-party fees. Under § 1005.30(h)(2), a non-covered third-party fee means any fee imposed by the designated recipient's institution for receiving a remittance transfer into an account except if such institution acts as the agent of the remittance transfer provider. For example, a fee imposed by the designated recipient's institution for receiving an incoming transfer into an account is a non-covered third-party fee, provided such institution is not acting as the agent of the remittance transfer provider. See also comment 31(b)(1)(viii)-1. Furthermore, designated recipient's account in § 1005.30(h)(2) refers to an asset account, regardless of whether it is a consumer asset account, established for any purpose and held by a bank, savings association, credit union, or equivalent institution. A designated recipient's account does not, however, include a credit card, prepaid card, or a virtual account held by an Internet-based or mobile telephone company that is not a bank, savings association, credit union or equivalent institution.

See interpretation of 30(h) Third-Party Fees in Supplement I

(1) “Covered third-party fees.” The term “covered third-party fees” means any fees imposed on the remittance transfer by a person other than the remittance transfer provider except for fees described in paragraph (h)(2) of this section.

(2) “Non-covered third-party fees.” The term “non-covered third-party fees” means any fees imposed by the designated recipient's institution for receiving a remittance transfer into an account except if the institution acts as an agent of the remittance transfer provider.