Comment for 1026.14 - Determination of Annual Percentage Rate
14(a) General Rule
1. Tolerance. The tolerance of 1/8th of 1 percentage point above or below the annual percentage rate applies to any required disclosure of the annual percentage rate. The disclosure of the annual percentage rate is required in §§ 1026.60, 1026.40, 1026.6, 1026.7, 1026.9, 1026.15, 1026.16, 1026.26, 1026.55, and 1026.56.
2. Rounding. The regulation does not require that the annual percentage rate be calculated to any particular number of decimal places; rounding is permissible within the 1/8th of 1 percent tolerance. For example, an exact annual percentage rate of 14.33333% may be stated as 14.33% or as 14.3%, or even as 14 1/4%; but it could not be stated as 14.2% or 14%, since each varies by more than the permitted tolerance.
3. Periodic rates. No explicit tolerance exists for any periodic rate as such; a disclosed periodic rate may vary from precise accuracy (for example, due to rounding) only to the extent that its annualized equivalent is within the tolerance permitted by § 1026.14(a). Further, a periodic rate need not be calculated to any particular number of decimal places.
4. Finance charges. The regulation does not prohibit creditors from assessing finance charges on balances that include prior, unpaid finance charges; state or other applicable law may do so, however.
5. Good faith reliance on faulty calculation tools. The regulation relieves a creditor of liability for an error in the annual percentage rate or finance charge that resulted from a corresponding error in a calculation tool used in good faith by the creditor. Whether or not the creditor's use of the tool was in good faith must be determined on a case-by-case basis, but the creditor must in any case have taken reasonable steps to verify the accuracy of the tool, including any instructions, before using it. Generally, the safe harbor from liability is available only for errors directly attributable to the calculation tool itself, including software programs; it is not intended to absolve a creditor of liability for its own errors, or for errors arising from improper use of the tool, from incorrect data entry, or from misapplication of the law.
6. Effect of leap year. Any variance in the annual percentage rate that occurs solely by reason of the addition of February 29 in a leap year may be disregarded, and such a rate may be disclosed without regard to such variance.
14(b) Annual Percentage Rate - In General
1. Corresponding annual percentage rate computation. For purposes of §§ 1026.60, 1026.40, 1026.6, 1026.7(a)(4) or (b)(4), 1026.9, 1026.15, 1026.16, 1026.26, 1026.55, and 1026.56, the annual percentage rate is determined by multiplying the periodic rate by the number of periods in the year. This computation reflects the fact that, in such disclosures, the rate (known as the corresponding annual percentage rate) is prospective and does not involve any particular finance charge or periodic balance.
14(c) Optional Effective Annual Percentage Rate for Periodic Statements for Creditors Offering Open-End Credit Plans Secured by a Consumer's Dwelling
1. General rule. The periodic statement may reflect (under § 1026.7(a)(7)) the annualized equivalent of the rate actually applied during a particular cycle; this rate may differ from the corresponding annual percentage rate because of the inclusion of, for example, fixed, minimum, or transaction charges. Sections 1026.14(c)(1) through (c)(4) state the computation rules for the effective rate.
2. Charges related to opening, renewing, or continuing an account. Sections 1026.14(c)(2) and (c)(3) exclude from the calculation of the effective annual percentage rate finance charges that are imposed during the billing cycle such as a loan fee, points, or similar charge that relates to opening, renewing, or continuing an account. The charges involved here do not relate to a specific transaction or to specific activity on the account, but relate solely to the opening, renewing, or continuing of the account. For example, an annual fee to renew an open-end credit account that is a percentage of the credit limit on the account, or that is charged only to consumers that have not used their credit card for a certain dollar amount in transactions during the preceding year, would not be included in the calculation of the annual percentage rate, even though the fee may not be excluded from the finance charge under § 1026.4(c)(4). (See comment 4(c)(4)-2.) This rule applies even if the loan fee, points, or similar charges are billed on a subsequent periodic statement or withheld from the proceeds of the first advance on the account.
3. Classification of charges. If the finance charge includes a charge not due to the application of a periodic rate, the creditor must use the annual percentage rate computation method that corresponds to the type of charge imposed. If the charge is tied to a specific transaction (for example, 3 percent of the amount of each transaction), then the method in § 1026.14(c)(3) must be used. If a fixed or minimum charge is applied, that is, one not tied to any specific transaction, then the formula in § 1026.14(c)(2) is appropriate.
4. Small finance charges. Section 1026.14(c)(4) gives the creditor an alternative to § 1026.14(c)(2) and (c)(3) if small finance charges (50 cents or less) are involved; that is, if the finance charge includes minimum or fixed fees not due to the application of a periodic rate and the total finance charge for the cycle does not exceed 50 cents. For example, while a monthly activity fee of 50 cents on a balance of $20 would produce an annual percentage rate of 30 percent under the rule in § 1026.14(c)(2), the creditor may disclose an annual percentage rate of 18 percent if the periodic rate generally applicable to all balances is 1 and 1/2 percent per month.
5. Prior-cycle adjustments.
i. The annual percentage rate reflects the finance charges imposed during the billing cycle. However, finance charges imposed during the billing cycle may relate to activity in a prior cycle. Examples of circumstances when this may occur are:
A. A cash advance occurs on the last day of a billing cycle on an account that uses the transaction date to figure finance charges, and it is impracticable to post the transaction until the following cycle.
B. An adjustment to the finance charge is made following the resolution of a billing error dispute.
C. A consumer fails to pay the purchase balance under a deferred payment feature by the payment due date, and finance charges are imposed from the date of purchase.
ii. Finance charges relating to activity in prior cycles should be reflected on the periodic statement as follows:
A. If a finance charge imposed in the current billing cycle is attributable to periodic rates applicable to prior billing cycles (such as when a deferred payment balance was not paid in full by the payment due date and finance charges from the date of purchase are now being debited to the account, or when a cash advance occurs on the last day of a billing cycle on an account that uses the transaction date to figure finance charges and it is impracticable to post the transaction until the following cycle), and the creditor uses the quotient method to calculate the annual percentage rate, the numerator would include the amount of any transaction charges plus any other finance charges posted during the billing cycle. At the creditor's option, balances relating to the finance charge adjustment may be included in the denominator if permitted by the legal obligation, if it was impracticable to post the transaction in the previous cycle because of timing, or if the adjustment is covered by comment 14(c)-5.ii.B.
B. If a finance charge that is posted to the account relates to activity for which a finance charge was debited or credited to the account in a previous billing cycle (for example, if the finance charge relates to an adjustment such as the resolution of a billing error dispute, or an unintentional posting error, or a payment by check that was later returned unpaid for insufficient funds or other reasons), the creditor shall at its option:
1. Calculate the annual percentage rate in accordance with ii.A of this paragraph, or
2. Disclose the finance charge adjustment on the periodic statement and calculate the annual percentage rate for the current billing cycle without including the finance charge adjustment in the numerator and balances associated with the finance charge adjustment in the denominator.
14(c)(1) Solely Periodic Rates Imposed
1. Periodic rates. Section 1026.14(c)(1) applies if the only finance charge imposed is due to the application of a periodic rate to a balance. The creditor may compute the annual percentage rate either:
i. By multiplying each periodic rate by the number of periods in the year; or
ii. By the “quotient” method. This method refers to a composite annual percentage rate when different periodic rates apply to different balances. For example, a particular plan may involve a periodic rate of 1/2 percent on balances up to $500, and 1 percent on balances over $500. If, in a given cycle, the consumer has a balance of $800, the finance charge would consist of $7.50 (500 × .015) plus $3.00 (300 × .01), for a total finance charge of $10.50. The annual percentage rate for this period may be disclosed either as 18% on $500 and 12 percent on $300, or as 15.75 percent on a balance of $800 (the quotient of $10.50 divided by $800, multiplied by 12).
14(c)(2) Minimum or Fixed Charge, But Not Transaction Charge, Imposed
1. Certain charges not based on periodic rates. Section 1026.14(c)(2) specifies use of the quotient method to determine the annual percentage rate if the finance charge imposed includes a certain charge not due to the application of a periodic rate (other than a charge relating to a specific transaction). For example, if the creditor imposes a minimum $1 finance charge on all balances below $50, and the consumer's balance was $40 in a particular cycle, the creditor would disclose an annual percentage rate of 30 percent (1/40 × 12).
2. No balance. If there is no balance to which the finance charge is applicable, an annual percentage rate cannot be determined under § 1026.14(c)(2). This could occur not only when minimum charges are imposed on an account with no balance, but also when a periodic rate is applied to advances from the date of the transaction. For example, if on May 19 the consumer pays the new balance in full from a statement dated May 1, and has no further transactions reflected on the June 1 statement, that statement would reflect a finance charge with no account balance.
14(c)(3) Transaction Charge Imposed
1. Transaction charges.
i. Section 1026.14(c)(3) transaction charges include, for example:
A. A loan fee of $10 imposed on a particular advance.
B. A charge of 3 percent of the amount of each transaction.
ii. The reference to avoiding duplication in the computation requires that the amounts of transactions on which transaction charges were imposed not be included both in the amount of total balances and in the “other amounts on which a finance charge was imposed” figure. In a multifeatured plan, creditors may consider each bona fide feature separately in the calculation of the denominator. A creditor has considerable flexibility in defining features for open-end plans, as long as the creditor has a reasonable basis for the distinctions. For further explanation and examples of how to determine the components of this formula, see appendix F to part 1026.
2. Daily rate with specific transaction charge. Section 1026.14(c)(3) sets forth an acceptable method for calculating the annual percentage rate if the finance charge results from a charge relating to a specific transaction and the application of a daily periodic rate. This section includes the requirement that the creditor follow the rules in appendix F to part 1026 in calculating the annual percentage rate, especially the provision in the introductory section of appendix F which addresses the daily rate/transaction charge situation by providing that the “average of daily balances” shall be used instead of the “sum of the balances.”
14(d) Calculations Where Daily Periodic Rate Applied
1. Quotient method. Section 1026.14(d) addresses use of a daily periodic rate(s) to determine some or all of the finance charge and use of the quotient method to determine the annual percentage rate. Since the quotient formula in § 1026.14(c)(1)(ii) and (c)(2) cannot be used when a daily rate is being applied to a series of daily balances, § 1026.14(d) provides two alternative ways to calculate the annual percentage rate - either of which satisfies the provisions of § 1026.7(a)(7).
2. Daily rate with specific transaction charge. If the finance charge results from a charge relating to a specific transaction and the application of a daily periodic rate, see comment 14(c)(3)-2 for guidance on an appropriate calculation method.