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§ 1005.2 Definitions.

This version is not the current regulation.
You are viewing a previous version of this regulation with amendments that went into effect on Nov. 14, 2016.

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


1. Examples. The term “access device” includes debit cards, personal identification numbers (PINs), telephone transfer and telephone bill payment codes, and other means that may be used by a consumer to initiate an electronic fund transfer (EFT) to or from a consumer account. The term does not include magnetic tape or other devices used internally by a financial institution to initiate electronic transfers.

2. Checks used to capture information. The term “access device” does not include a check or draft used to capture the Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) encoding to initiate a one-time automated clearinghouse (ACH) debit. For example, if a consumer authorizes a one-time ACH debit from the consumer's account using a blank, partially completed, or fully completed and signed check for the merchant to capture the routing, account, and serial numbers to initiate the debit, the check is not an access device. (Although the check is not an access device under Regulation E, the transaction is nonetheless covered by the regulation. See comment 3(b)(1)-1.v.)

See interpretation of 2(a) Access Device in Supplement I

(1) “Access device” means a card, code, or other means of access to a consumer's account, or any combination thereof, that may be used by the consumer to initiate electronic fund transfers.

(2) An access device becomes an “accepted access device” when the consumer:

(i) Requests and receives, or signs, or uses (or authorizes another to use) the access device to transfer money between accounts or to obtain money, property, or services;

(ii) Requests validation of an access device issued on an unsolicited basis; or

(iii) Receives an access device in renewal of, or in substitution for, an accepted access device from either the financial institution that initially issued the device or a successor.


1. Consumer asset account. The term “consumer asset account” includes:

i. Club accounts, such as vacation clubs. In many cases, however, these accounts are exempt from the regulation under § 1005.3(c)(5) because all electronic transfers to or from the account have been preauthorized by the consumer and involve another account of the consumer at the same institution.

ii. A retail repurchase agreement (repo), which is a loan made to a financial institution by a consumer that is collateralized by government or government-insured securities.

2. Certain employment-related cards not covered. The term “payroll card account” does not include a card used solely to disburse incentive-based payments (other than commissions which can represent the primary means through which a consumer is paid), such as bonuses, which are unlikely to be a consumer's primary source of salary or other compensation. The term also does not include a card used solely to make disbursements unrelated to compensation, such as petty cash reimbursements or travel per diem payments. Similarly, a payroll card account does not include a card that is used in isolated instances to which an employer typically does not make recurring payments, such as when providing final payments or in emergency situations when other payment methods are unavailable. However, all transactions involving the transfer of funds to or from a payroll card account are covered by the regulation, even if a particular transaction involves payment of a bonus, other incentive-based payment, or reimbursement, or the transaction does not represent a transfer of wages, salary, or other employee compensation.

3. Examples of accounts not covered by Regulation E (12 CFR part 1005) include:

i. Profit-sharing and pension accounts established under a trust agreement, which are exempt under § 1005.2(b)(2).

ii. Escrow accounts, such as those established to ensure payment of items such as real estate taxes, insurance premiums, or completion of repairs or improvements.

iii. Accounts for accumulating funds to purchase U.S. savings bonds.

See interpretation of 2(b) Account in Supplement I

(1) “Account” means a demand deposit (checking), savings, or other consumer asset account (other than an occasional or incidental credit balance in a credit plan) held directly or indirectly by a financial institution and established primarily for personal, family, or household purposes.

(2) The term includes a “payroll card account” which is an account that is directly or indirectly established through an employer and to which electronic fund transfers of the consumer's wages, salary, or other employee compensation (such as commissions), are made on a recurring basis, whether the account is operated or managed by the employer, a third-party payroll processor, a depository institution or any other person. For rules governing payroll card accounts, see § 1005.18.

1. Bona fide trust agreements. The term “bona fide trust agreement” is not defined by the Act or regulation; therefore, financial institutions must look to state or other applicable law for interpretation.

2. Custodial agreements. An account held under a custodial agreement that qualifies as a trust under the Internal Revenue Code, such as an individual retirement account, is considered to be held under a trust agreement for purposes of Regulation E.

See interpretation of Paragraph 2(b)(2) in Supplement I

(3) The term does not include an account held by a financial institution under a bona fide trust agreement.

(c) “Act” means the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (Title IX of the Consumer Credit Protection Act, 15 U.S.C. 1693 et seq.).

(d) “Business day” means any day on which the offices of the consumer's financial institution are open to the public for carrying on substantially all business functions.

1. Duration. A business day includes the entire 24-hour period ending at midnight, and a notice required by the regulation is effective even if given outside normal business hours. The regulation does not require, however, that a financial institution 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 institution. For example, if the offices of an institution are open on Saturdays for handling some consumer transactions (such as deposits, withdrawals, and other teller transactions), but not for performing internal functions (such as investigating account errors), then Saturday is not a business day for that institution. In this case, Saturday does not count toward the business-day standard set by the regulation for reporting lost or stolen access devices, resolving errors, etc.

3. Short hours. A financial institution may determine, at its election, whether an abbreviated day is a business day. For example, if an institution 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 financial institution makes a telephone line available on Sundays for reporting the loss or theft of an access device, but performs no other business functions, Sunday is not a business day under the substantially all business functions standard.

See interpretation of 2(d) Business Day in Supplement I

(e) “Consumer” means a natural person.

(f) “Credit” means the right granted by a financial institution to a consumer to defer payment of debt, incur debt and defer its payment, or purchase property or services and defer payment therefor.

(g) “Electronic fund transfer” is defined in § 1005.3.

(h) “Electronic terminal” means an electronic device, other than a telephone operated by a consumer, through which a consumer may initiate an electronic fund transfer. The term includes, but is not limited to, point-of-sale terminals, automated teller machines (ATMs), and cash dispensing machines.

1. Point-of-sale (POS) payments initiated by telephone. Because the term “electronic terminal” excludes a telephone operated by a consumer, a financial institution need not provide a terminal receipt when:

i. A consumer uses a debit card at a public telephone to pay for the call.

ii. A consumer initiates a transfer by a means analogous in function to a telephone, such as by home banking equipment or a facsimile machine.

2. POS terminals. A POS terminal that captures data electronically, for debiting or crediting to a consumer's asset account, is an electronic terminal for purposes of Regulation E even if no access device is used to initiate the transaction. See § 1005.9 for receipt requirements.

3. Teller-operated terminals. A terminal or other computer equipment operated by an employee of a financial institution is not an electronic terminal for purposes of the regulation. However, transfers initiated at such terminals by means of a consumer's access device (using the consumer's PIN, for example) are EFTs and are subject to other requirements of the regulation. If an access device is used only for identification purposes or for determining the account balance, the transfers are not EFTs for purposes of the regulation.

See interpretation of 2(h) Electronic Terminal in Supplement I

(i) “Financial institution” means a bank, savings association, credit union, or any other person that directly or indirectly holds an account belonging to a consumer, or that issues an access device and agrees with a consumer to provide electronic fund transfer services, other than a person excluded from coverage of this part by section 1029 of the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010, title X of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Public Law 111-203, 124 Stat. 1376.

(j) “Person” means a natural person or an organization, including a corporation, government agency, estate, trust, partnership, proprietorship, cooperative, or association.

(k) “Preauthorized electronic fund transfer” means an electronic fund transfer authorized in advance to recur at substantially regular intervals.

1. Advance authorization. A preauthorized electronic fund transfer under Regulation E is one authorized by the consumer 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 financial institution to make monthly payments to a payee by means of EFTs, and the payments take place without further action by the consumer, the payments are preauthorized EFTs. In contrast, if the consumer must take action each month to initiate a payment (such as by entering instructions on a touch-tone telephone or home computer), the payments are not preauthorized EFTs.

See interpretation of 2(k) Preauthorized Electronic Fund Transfer in Supplement I

(l) “State” means any state, territory, or possession of the United States; the District of Columbia; the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; or any political subdivision of the thereof in this paragraph (l).

(m) “Unauthorized electronic fund transfer” means an electronic fund transfer from a consumer's account initiated by a person other than the consumer without actual authority to initiate the transfer and from which the consumer receives no benefit. The term does not include an electronic fund transfer initiated:

1. Transfer by institution's employee. A consumer has no liability for erroneous or fraudulent transfers initiated by an employee of a financial institution.

2. Authority. If a consumer furnishes an access device and grants authority to make transfers to a person (such as a family member or co-worker) who exceeds the authority given, the consumer is fully liable for the transfers unless the consumer has notified the financial institution that transfers by that person are no longer authorized.

3. Access device obtained through robbery or fraud. An unauthorized EFT includes a transfer initiated by a person who obtained the access device from the consumer through fraud or robbery.

4. Forced initiation. An EFT at an ATM is an unauthorized transfer if the consumer has been induced by force to initiate the transfer.

5. Reversal of direct deposits. The reversal of a direct deposit made in error is not an unauthorized EFT when it involves:

i. A credit made to the wrong consumer's account;

ii. A duplicate credit made to a consumer's account; or

iii. A credit in the wrong amount (for example, when the amount credited to the consumer's account differs from the amount in the transmittal instructions).

See interpretation of 2(m) Unauthorized Electronic Fund Transfer in Supplement I

(1) By a person who was furnished the access device to the consumer's account by the consumer, unless the consumer has notified the financial institution that transfers by that person are no longer authorized;

(2) With fraudulent intent by the consumer or any person acting in concert with the consumer; or

(3) By the financial institution or its employee.