Comment for Appendix G - Open-End Model Forms and Clauses
1. Models G-1 and G-1(A). The model disclosures in G-1 and G-1(A) (different balance computation methods) may be used in both the account-opening disclosures under § 1026.6 and the periodic disclosures under § 1026.7. As is clear from the models given, “shorthand” descriptions of the balance computation methods are not sufficient, except where § 1026.7(b)(5) applies. For creditors using model G-1, the phrase “a portion of” the finance charge should be included if the total finance charge includes other amounts, such as transaction charges, that are not due to the application of a periodic rate. If unpaid interest or finance charges are subtracted in calculating the balance, that fact must be stated so that the disclosure of the computation method is accurate. Only model G-1(b) contains a final sentence appearing in brackets, which reflects the total dollar amount of payments and credits received during the billing cycle. The other models do not contain this language because they reflect plans in which payments and credits received during the billing cycle are subtracted. If this is not the case, however, the language relating to payments and credits should be changed, and the creditor should add either the disclosure of the dollar amount as in model G-1(b) or an indication of which credits (disclosed elsewhere on the periodic statement) will not be deducted in determining the balance. (Such an indication may also substitute for the bracketed sentence in model G-1(b).) (See the commentary to § 1026.7(a)(5) and (b)(5).) For open-end plans subject to the requirements of § 1026.40, creditors may, at their option, use the clauses in G-1 or G-1(A).
2. Models G-2 and G-2(A). These models contain the notice of liability for unauthorized use of a credit card. For home-equity plans subject to the requirements of § 1026.40, at the creditor's option, a creditor either may use G-2 or G-2(A). For open-end plans not subject to the requirements of § 1026.40, creditors properly use G-2(A).
3. Models G-3, G-3(A), G-4 and G-4(A).
i. These set out models for the long-form billing-error rights statement (for use with the account-opening disclosures and as an annual disclosure or, at the creditor's option, with each periodic statement) and the alternative billing-error rights statement (for use with each periodic statement), respectively. For home-equity plans subject to the requirements of § 1026.40, at the creditor's option, a creditor either may use G-3 or G-3(A), and for creditors that use the short form, G-4 or G-4(A). For open-end (not home-secured) plans that are not subject to the requirements of § 1026.40, creditors properly use G-3(A) and G-4(A). Creditors must provide the billing-error rights statements in a form substantially similar to the models in order to comply with the regulation. The model billing-rights statements may be modified in any of the ways set forth in the first paragraph to the commentary on Appendices G and H. The models may, furthermore, be modified by deleting inapplicable information, such as:
A. The paragraph concerning stopping a debit in relation to a disputed amount, if the creditor does not have the ability to debit automatically the consumer's savings or checking account for payment.
B. The rights stated in the special rule for credit card purchases and any limitations on those rights.
ii. The model billing rights statements also contain optional language that creditors may use. For example, the creditor may:
A. Include a statement to the effect that notice of a billing error must be submitted on something other than the payment ticket or other material accompanying the periodic disclosures.
B. Insert its address or refer to the address that appears elsewhere on the bill.
C. Include instructions for consumers, at the consumer's option, to communicate with the creditor electronically or in writing.
iii. Additional information may be included on the statements as long as it does not detract from the required disclosures. For instance, information concerning the reporting of errors in connection with a checking account may be included on a combined statement as long as the disclosures required by the regulation remain clear and conspicuous.
4. Models G-5 through G-9. These models set out notices of the right to rescind that would be used at different times in an open-end plan. The last paragraph of each of the rescission model forms contains a blank for the date by which the consumer's notice of cancellation must be sent or delivered. A parenthetical is included to address the situation in which the consumer's right to rescind the transaction exists beyond 3 business days following the date of the transaction, for example, when the notice or material disclosures are delivered late or when the date of the transaction in paragraph 1 of the notice is an estimate. The language of the parenthetical is not optional. See the commentary to § 1026.2(a)(25) regarding the specificity of the security interest disclosure for model form G-7.
5. Model G-10(A), samples G-10(B) and G-10(C), model G-10(D), sample G-10(E), model G-17(A), and samples G-17(B), 17(C) and 17(D). i. Model G-10(A) and Samples G-10(B) and G-10(C) illustrate, in the tabular format, the disclosures required under § 1026.60 for applications and solicitations for credit cards other than charge cards. Model G-10(D) and Sample G-10(E) illustrate the tabular format disclosure for charge card applications and solicitations and reflect the disclosures in the table. Model G-17(A) and Samples G-17(B), G-17(C) and G-17(D) illustrate, in the tabular format, the disclosures required under § 1026.6(b)(2) for account-opening disclosures.
ii. Except as otherwise permitted, disclosures must be substantially similar in sequence and format to Models G-10(A), G-10(D) and G-17(A). While proper use of the model forms will be deemed in compliance with the regulation, card issuers and other creditors offering open-end (not home-secured) plans are permitted to disclose the annual percentage rates for purchases, cash advances, or balance transfers in the same row in the table for any transaction types for which the issuer or creditor charges the same annual percentage rate. Similarly, card issuer and other creditors offering open-end (not home-secured) plans are permitted to disclose fees of the same amount in the same row if the fees are in the same category. Fees in different categories may not be disclosed in the same row. For example, a transaction fee and a penalty fee that are of the same amount may not be disclosed in the same row. Card issuers and other creditors offering open-end (not home-secured) plans are also permitted to use headings other than those in the forms if they are clear and concise and are substantially similar to the headings contained in model forms, with the following exceptions. The heading “penalty APR” must be used when describing rates that may increase due to default or delinquency or as a penalty, and in relation to required insurance, or debt cancellation or suspension coverage, the term “required” and the name of the product must be used. (See also §§ 1026.60(b)(5) and 1026.6(b)(2)(v) for guidance on headings that must be used to describe the grace period, or lack of grace period, in the disclosures required under § 1026.60 for applications and solicitations for credit cards other than charge cards, and the disclosures required under § 1026.6(b)(2) for account-opening disclosures, respectively.)
iii. Models G-10(A) and G-17(A) contain two alternative headings (“Minimum Interest Charge” and “Minimum Charge”) for disclosing a minimum interest or fixed finance charge under §§ 1026.60(b)(3) and 1026.6(b)(2)(iii). If a creditor imposes a minimum charge in lieu of interest in those months where a consumer would otherwise incur an interest charge but that interest charge is less than the minimum charge, the creditor should disclose this charge under the heading “Minimum Interest Charge” or a substantially similar heading. Other minimum or fixed finance charges should be disclosed under the heading “Minimum Charge” or a substantially similar heading.
iv. Models G-10(A), G-10(D) and G-17(A) contain two alternative headings (“Annual Fees” and “Set-up and Maintenance Fees”) for disclosing fees for issuance or availability of credit under § 1026.60(b)(2) or § 1026.6(b)(2)(ii). If the only fee for issuance or availability of credit disclosed under § 1026.60(b)(2) or § 1026.6(b)(2)(ii) is an annual fee, a creditor should use the heading “Annual Fee” or a substantially similar heading to disclose this fee. If a creditor imposes fees for issuance or availability of credit disclosed under § 1026.60(b)(2) or § 1026.6(b)(2)(ii) other than, or in addition to, an annual fee, the creditor should use the heading “Set-up and Maintenance Fees” or a substantially similar heading to disclose fees for issuance or availability of credit, including the annual fee.
v. Although creditors are not required to use a certain paper size in disclosing the §§ 1026.60 or 1026.6(b)(1) and (2) disclosures, samples G-10(B), G-10(C), G-17(B), G-17(C) and G-17(D) are designed to be printed on an 81/2 × 14 inch sheet of paper. A creditor may use a smaller sheet of paper, such as 81/2 × 11 inch sheet of paper. If the table is not provided on a single side of a sheet of paper, the creditor must include a reference or references, such as “SEE BACK OF PAGE for more important information about your account.” at the bottom of each page indicating that the table continues onto an additional page or pages. A creditor that splits the table onto two or more pages must disclose the table on consecutive pages and may not include any intervening information between portions of the table. In addition, the following formatting techniques were used in presenting the information in the sample tables to ensure that the information is readable:
A. A readable font style and font size (10-point Arial font style, except for the purchase annual percentage rate which is shown in 16-point type).
B. Sufficient spacing between lines of the text.
C. Adequate spacing between paragraphs when several pieces of information were included in the same row of the table, as appropriate. For example, in the samples in the row of the tables with the heading “APR for Balance Transfers,” the forms disclose two components: The applicable balance transfer rate and a cross reference to the balance transfer fee. The samples show these two components on separate lines with adequate space between each component. On the other hand, in the samples, in the disclosure of the late payment fee, the forms disclose two components: The late payment fee, and the cross reference to the penalty rate. Because the disclosure of both these components is short, these components are disclosed on the same line in the tables.
D. Standard spacing between words and characters. In other words, the text was not compressed to appear smaller than 10-point type.
E. Sufficient white space around the text of the information in each row, by providing sufficient margins above, below and to the sides of the text.
F. Sufficient contrast between the text and the background. Generally, black text was used on white paper.
vi. While the Bureau is not requiring issuers to use the above formatting techniques in presenting information in the table (except for the 10-point and 16-point font requirement), the Bureau encourages issuers to consider these techniques when deciding how to disclose information in the table, to ensure that the information is presented in a readable format.
vii. Creditors are allowed to use color, shading and similar graphic techniques with respect to the table, so long as the table remains substantially similar to the model and sample forms in appendix G.
viii. Models G-10(A) and G-17(A) contain rows in the table with the prescribed language, “For Credit Card Tips from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau” and calling for a “[Reference to the Bureau's Web site]” next to that language. Until January 1, 2013, creditors may substitute “For Credit Card Tips from the Federal Reserve Board” for these two model forms' prescribed language and may provide a reference to the Federal Reserve Board's Web site rather than the Bureau's Web site.
6. Model G-11. Model G-11 contains clauses that illustrate the general disclosures required under § 1026.60(e) in applications and solicitations made available to the general public.
7. Models G-13(A) and G-13(B). These model forms illustrate the disclosures required under § 1026.9(f) when the card issuer changes the entity providing insurance on a credit card account. Model G-13(A) contains the items set forth in § 1026.9(f)(3) as examples of significant terms of coverage that may be affected by the change in insurance provider. The card issuer may either list all of these potential changes in coverage and place a check mark by the applicable changes, or list only the actual changes in coverage. Under either approach, the card issuer must either explain the changes or refer to an accompanying copy of the policy or group certificate for details of the new terms of coverage. Model G-13(A) also illustrates the permissible combination of the two notices required by § 1026.9(f) - the notice required for a planned change in provider and the notice required once a change has occurred. This form may be modified for use in providing only the disclosures required before the change if the card issuer chooses to send two separate notices. Thus, for example, the references to the attached policy or certificate would not be required in a separate notice prior to a change in the insurance provider since the policy or certificate need not be provided at that time. Model G-13(B) illustrates the disclosures required under § 1026.9(f)(2) when the insurance provider is changed.
8. Samples G-18(A)-(D). For home-equity plans subject to the requirements of § 1026.40, if a creditor chooses to comply with the requirements in § 1026.7(b), the creditor may use Samples G-18(A) through G-18(D) to comply with these requirements, as applicable.
9. Samples G-18(D). Sample G-18(D) illustrates how credit card issuers may comply with proximity requirements for payment information on periodic statements. Creditors that offer card accounts with a charge card feature and a revolving feature may change the disclosure to make clear to which feature the disclosures apply.
10. Forms G-18(F)-(G). Forms G-18(F) and G-18(G) are intended as a compliance aid to illustrate front sides of a periodic statement, and how a periodic statement for open-end (not home-secured) plans might be designed to comply with the requirements of § 1026.7. The samples contain information that is not required by Regulation Z. The samples also present information in additional formats that are not required by Regulation Z.
i. Creditors are not required to use a certain paper size in disclosing the § 1026.7 disclosures. However, Forms G-18(F) and G-18(G) are designed to be printed on an 8 × 14 inch sheet of paper.
ii. The due date for a payment, if a late payment fee or penalty rate may be imposed, must appear on the front of the first page of the statement. See Sample G-18(D) that illustrates how a creditor may comply with proximity requirements for other disclosures. The payment information disclosures appear in the upper right-hand corner on Samples G-18(F) and G-18(G), but may be located elsewhere, as long as they appear on the front of the first page of the periodic statement. The summary of account activity presented on Samples G-18(F) and G-18(G) is not itself a required disclosure, although the previous balance and the new balance, presented in the summary, must be disclosed in a clear and conspicuous manner on periodic statements.
iii. Additional information not required by Regulation Z may be presented on the statement. The information need not be located in any particular place or be segregated from disclosures required by Regulation Z, although the effect of proximity requirements for required disclosures, such as the due date, may cause the additional information to be segregated from those disclosures required to be disclosed in close proximity to one another. Any additional information must be presented consistent with the creditor's obligation to provide required disclosures in a clear and conspicuous manner.
iv. Model Forms G-18(F) and G-18(G) demonstrate two examples of ways in which transactions could be presented on the periodic statement. Model Form G-18(G) presents transactions grouped by type and Model Form G-18(F) presents transactions in a list in chronological order. Neither of these approaches to presenting transactions is required; a creditor may present transactions differently, such as in a list grouped by authorized user or other means.
11. Model Form G-19. See § 1026.9(b)(3) regarding the headings required to be disclosed when describing in the tabular disclosure a grace period (or lack of a grace period) offered on check transactions that access a credit card account.
12. Sample G-24. Sample G-24 includes two model clauses for use in complying with § 1026.16(h)(4). Model clause (a) is for use in connection with credit card accounts under an open-end (not home-secured) consumer credit plan. Model clause (b) is for use in connection with other open-end credit plans.