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Comment for 1026.6 - Account-Opening Disclosures

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6(a) Rules Affecting Home-Equity Plans

6(a)(1) Finance Charge

Paragraph 6(a)(1)(i)

1. When finance charges accrue. Creditors are not required to disclose a specific date when finance charges will begin to accrue. Creditors may provide a general explanation such as that the consumer has 30 days from the closing date to pay the new balance before finance charges will accrue on the account.

2. Grace periods. In disclosing whether or not a grace period exists, the creditor need not use “free period,” “free-ride period,” “grace period” or any other particular descriptive phrase or term. For example, a statement that “the finance charge begins on the date the transaction is posted to your account” adequately discloses that no grace period exists. In the same fashion, a statement that “finance charges will be imposed on any new purchases only if they are not paid in full within 25 days after the close of the billing cycle” indicates that a grace period exists in the interim.

Paragraph 6(a)(1)(ii)

1. Range of balances. The range of balances disclosure is inapplicable:

i. If only one periodic rate may be applied to the entire account balance.

ii. If only one periodic rate may be applied to the entire balance for a feature (for example, cash advances), even though the balance for another feature (purchases) may be subject to two rates (a 1.5% monthly periodic rate on purchase balances of $0-$500, and a 1% monthly periodic rate for balances above $500). In this example, the creditor must give a range of balances disclosure for the purchase feature.

2. Variable-rate disclosures - coverage.

i. Examples. This section covers open-end credit plans under which rate changes are specifically set forth in the account agreement and are tied to an index or formula. A creditor would use variable-rate disclosures for plans involving rate changes such as the following:

A. Rate changes that are tied to the rate the creditor pays on its six-month certificates of deposit.

B. Rate changes that are tied to Treasury bill rates.

C. Rate changes that are tied to changes in the creditor's commercial lending rate.

ii. An open-end credit plan in which the employee receives a lower rate contingent upon employment (that is, with the rate to be increased upon termination of employment) is not a variable-rate plan.

3. Variable-rate plan — rate(s) in effect. In disclosing the rate(s) in effect at the time of the account-opening disclosures (as is required by § 1026.6(a)(1)(ii)), the creditor may use an insert showing the current rate; may give the rate as of a specified date and then update the disclosure from time to time, for example, each calendar month; or may disclose an estimated rate under § 1026.5(c).

4. Variable-rate plan — additional disclosures required. In addition to disclosing the rates in effect at the time of the account-opening disclosures, the disclosures under § 1026.6(a)(1)(ii) also must be made.

5. Variable-rate plan — index. The index to be used must be clearly identified; the creditor need not give, however, an explanation of how the index is determined or provide instructions for obtaining it.

6. Variable-rate plan — circumstances for increase.

i. Circumstances under which the rate(s) may increase include, for example:

A. An increase in the Treasury bill rate.

B. An increase in the Federal Reserve discount rate.

ii. The creditor must disclose when the increase will take effect; for example:

A. “An increase will take effect on the day that the Treasury bill rate increases,” or

B. “An increase in the Federal Reserve discount rate will take effect on the first day of the creditor's billing cycle.”

7. Variable-rate plan — limitations on increase. In disclosing any limitations on rate increases, limitations such as the maximum increase per year or the maximum increase over the duration of the plan must be disclosed. When there are no limitations, the creditor may, but need not, disclose that fact. (A maximum interest rate must be included in dwelling-secured open-end credit plans under which the interest rate may be changed. See § 1026.30 and the commentary to that section.) Legal limits such as usury or rate ceilings under state or Federal statutes or regulations need not be disclosed. Examples of limitations that must be disclosed include:

i. “The rate on the plan will not exceed 25% annual percentage rate.”

ii. “Not more than 1/2 percent increase in the annual percentage rate per year will occur.”

8. Variable-rate plan — effects of increase. Examples of effects of rate increases that must be disclosed include:

i. Any requirement for additional collateral if the annual percentage rate increases beyond a specified rate.

ii. Any increase in the scheduled minimum periodic payment amount.

9. Variable-rate plan — change-in-terms notice not required. No notice of a change in terms is required for a rate increase under a variable-rate plan as defined in comment 6(a)(1)(ii)-2.

10. Discounted variable-rate plans. In some variable-rate plans, creditors may set an initial interest rate that is not determined by the index or formula used to make later interest rate adjustments. Typically, this initial rate is lower than the rate would be if it were calculated using the index or formula.

i. For example, a creditor may calculate interest rates according to a formula using the six-month Treasury bill rate plus a 2 percent margin. If the current Treasury bill rate is 10 percent, the creditor may forgo the 2 percent spread and charge only 10 percent for a limited time, instead of setting an initial rate of 12 percent, or the creditor may disregard the index or formula and set the initial rate at 9 percent.

ii. When creditors use an initial rate that is not calculated using the index or formula for later rate adjustments, the account-opening disclosure statement should reflect:

A. The initial rate (expressed as a periodic rate and a corresponding annual percentage rate), together with a statement of how long the initial rate will remain in effect;

B. The current rate that would have been applied using the index or formula (also expressed as a periodic rate and a corresponding annual percentage rate); and

C. The other variable-rate information required in § 1026.6(a)(1)(ii).

iii. In disclosing the current periodic and annual percentage rates that would be applied using the index or formula, the creditor may use any of the disclosure options described in comment 6(a)(1)(ii)-3.

11. Increased penalty rates. If the initial rate may increase upon the occurrence of one or more specific events, such as a late payment or an extension of credit that exceeds the credit limit, the creditor must disclose the initial rate and the increased penalty rate that may apply. If the penalty rate is based on an index and an increased margin, the issuer must disclose the index and the margin. The creditor must also disclose the specific event or events that may result in the increased rate, such as “22% APR, if 60 days late.” If the penalty rate cannot be determined at the time disclosures are given, the creditor must provide an explanation of the specific event or events that may result in the increased rate. At the creditor's option, the creditor may disclose the period for which the increased rate will remain in effect, such as “until you make three timely payments.” The creditor need not disclose an increased rate that is imposed when credit privileges are permanently terminated.

Paragraph 6(a)(1)(iii)

1. Explanation of balance computation method. A shorthand phrase such as “previous balance method” does not suffice in explaining the balance computation method. (See Model Clauses G-1 and G-1(A) to part 1026.)

2. Allocation of payments. Creditors may, but need not, explain how payments and other credits are allocated to outstanding balances. For example, the creditor need not disclose that payments are applied to late charges, overdue balances, and finance charges before being applied to the principal balance; or in a multifeatured plan, that payments are applied first to finance charges, then to purchases, and then to cash advances. (See comment 7-1 for definition of multifeatured plan.)

Paragraph 6(a)(1)(iv)

1. Finance charges. In addition to disclosing the periodic rate(s) under § 1026.6(a)(1)(ii), creditors must disclose any other type of finance charge that may be imposed, such as minimum, fixed, transaction, and activity charges; required insurance; or appraisal or credit report fees (unless excluded from the finance charge under § 1026.4(c)(7)). Creditors are not required to disclose the fact that no finance charge is imposed when the outstanding balance is less than a certain amount or the balance below which no finance charge will be imposed.

6(a)(2) Other Charges

1. General; examples of other charges. Under § 1026.6(a)(2), significant charges related to the plan (that are not finance charges) must also be disclosed. For example:

i. Late-payment and over-the-credit-limit charges.

ii. Fees for providing documentary evidence of transactions requested under § 1026.13 (billing error resolution).

iii. Charges imposed in connection with residential mortgage transactions or real estate transactions such as title, appraisal, and credit-report fees (see § 1026.4(c)(7)).

iv. A tax imposed on the credit transaction by a state or other governmental body, such as a documentary stamp tax on cash advances. (See the commentary to § 1026.4(a)).

v. A membership or participation fee for a package of services that includes an open-end credit feature, unless the fee is required whether or not the open-end credit feature is included. For example, a membership fee to join a credit union is not an “other charge,” even if membership is required to apply for credit. For example, if the primary benefit of membership in an organization is the opportunity to apply for a credit card, and the other benefits offered (such as a newsletter or a member information hotline) are merely incidental to the credit feature, the membership fee would be disclosed as an “other charge.”

vi. Charges imposed for the termination of an open-end credit plan.

2. Exclusions. The following are examples of charges that are not “other charges”:

i. Fees charged for documentary evidence of transactions for income tax purposes.

ii. Amounts payable by a consumer for collection activity after default; attorney's fees, whether or not automatically imposed; foreclosure costs; post-judgment interest rates imposed by law; and reinstatement or reissuance fees.

iii. Premiums for voluntary credit life or disability insurance, or for property insurance, that are not part of the finance charge.

iv. Application fees under § 1026.4(c)(1).

v. A monthly service charge for a checking account with overdraft protection that is applied to all checking accounts, whether or not a credit feature is attached.

vi. Charges for submitting as payment a check that is later returned unpaid (See commentary to § 1026.4(c)(2)).

vii. Charges imposed on a cardholder by an institution other than the card issuer for the use of the other institution's ATM in a shared or interchange system. (See also comment 7(a)(2)-2.)

viii. Taxes and filing or notary fees excluded from the finance charge under § 1026.4(e).

ix. A fee to expedite delivery of a credit card, either at account opening or during the life of the account, provided delivery of the card is also available by standard mail service (or other means at least as fast) without paying a fee for delivery.

x. A fee charged for arranging a single payment on the credit account, upon the consumer's request (regardless of how frequently the consumer requests the service), if the credit plan provides that the consumer may make payments on the account by another reasonable means, such as by standard mail service, without paying a fee to the creditor.

6(a)(3) Home-Equity Plan Information

1. Additional disclosures required. For home-equity plans, creditors must provide several of the disclosures set forth in § 1026.40(d) along with the disclosures required under § 1026.6. Creditors also must disclose a list of the conditions that permit the creditor to terminate the plan, freeze or reduce the credit limit, and implement specified modifications to the original terms. (See comment 40(d)(4)(iii)-1.)

2. Form of disclosures. The home-equity disclosures provided under this section must be in a form the consumer can keep, and are governed by § 1026.5(a)(1). The segregation standard set forth in § 1026.40(a) does not apply to home-equity disclosures provided under § 1026.6.

3. Disclosure of payment and variable-rate examples.

i. The payment-example disclosure in § 1026.40(d)(5)(iii) and the variable-rate information in § 1026.40(d)(12)(viii), (d)(12)(x), (d)(12)(xi), and (d)(12)(xii) need not be provided with the disclosures under § 1026.6 if the disclosures under § 1026.40(d) were provided in a form the consumer could keep; and the disclosures of the payment example under § 1026.40(d)(5)(iii), the maximum-payment example under § 1026.40(d)(12)(x) and the historical table under § 1026.40(d)(12)(xi) included a representative payment example for the category of payment options the consumer has chosen.

ii. For example, if a creditor offers three payment options (one for each of the categories described in the commentary to § 1026.40(d)(5)), describes all three options in its early disclosures, and provides all of the disclosures in a retainable form, that creditor need not provide the § 1026.40(d)(5)(iii) or (d)(12) disclosures again when the account is opened. If the creditor showed only one of the three options in the early disclosures (which would be the case with a separate disclosure form rather than a combined form, as discussed under § 1026.40(a)), the disclosures under § 1026.40(d)(5)(iii), (d)(12)(viii), (d)(12)(x), (d)(12)(xi) and (d)(12)(xii) must be given to any consumer who chooses one of the other two options. If the § 1026.40(d)(5)(iii) and (d)(12) disclosures are provided with the second set of disclosures, they need not be transaction-specific, but may be based on a representative example of the category of payment option chosen.

4. Disclosures for the repayment period. The creditor must provide disclosures about both the draw and repayment phases when giving the disclosures under § 1026.6. Specifically, the creditor must make the disclosures in § 1026.6(a)(3), state the corresponding annual percentage rate, and provide the variable-rate information required in § 1026.6(a)(1)(ii) for the repayment phase. To the extent the corresponding annual percentage rate, the information in § 1026.6(a)(1)(ii), and any other required disclosures are the same for the draw and repayment phase, the creditor need not repeat such information, as long as it is clear that the information applies to both phases.

6(a)(4) Security Interests

1. General. Creditors are not required to use specific terms to describe a security interest, or to explain the type of security or the creditor's rights with respect to the collateral.

2. Identification of property. Creditors sufficiently identify collateral by type by stating, for example, motor vehicle or household appliances. (Creditors should be aware, however, that the Federal credit practices rules, as well as some state laws, prohibit certain security interests in household goods.) The creditor may, at its option, provide a more specific identification (for example, a model and serial number).

3. Spreader clause. If collateral for preexisting credit with the creditor will secure the plan being opened, the creditor must disclose that fact. (Such security interests may be known as “spreader” or “dragnet” clauses, or as “cross-collateralization” clauses.) The creditor need not specifically identify the collateral; a reminder such as “collateral securing other loans with us may also secure this loan” is sufficient. At the creditor's option, a more specific description of the property involved may be given.

4. Additional collateral. If collateral is required when advances reach a certain amount, the creditor should disclose the information available at the time of the account-opening disclosures. For example, if the creditor knows that a security interest will be taken in household goods if the consumer's balance exceeds $1,000, the creditor should disclose accordingly. If the creditor knows that security will be required if the consumer's balance exceeds $1,000, but the creditor does not know what security will be required, the creditor must disclose on the initial disclosure statement that security will be required if the balance exceeds $1,000, and the creditor must provide a change-in-terms notice under § 1026.9(c) at the time the security is taken. (See comment 6(a)(4)-2.)

5. Collateral from third party. Security interests taken in connection with the plan must be disclosed, whether the collateral is owned by the consumer or a third party.

6(a)(5) Statement of Billing Rights

1. See the commentary to Model Forms G-3, G-3(A), G-4, and G-4(A).

6(b) Rules Affecting Open-End (Not Home-Secured) Plans

6(b)(1) Form of Disclosures; Tabular Format for Open-End (Not Home-Secured) Plans

1. Relation to tabular summary for applications and solicitations. See commentary to § 1026.60(a), (b), and (c) regarding format and content requirements, except for the following:

i. Creditors must use the accuracy standard for annual percentage rates in § 1026.6(b)(4)(ii)(G).

ii. Generally, creditors must disclose the specific rate for each feature that applies to the account. If the rates on an open-end (not home-secured) plan vary by state and the creditor is providing the account-opening table in person at the time the plan is established in connection with financing the purchase of goods or services the creditor may, at its option, disclose in the account-opening table (A) the rate applicable to the consumer's account, or (B) the range of rates, if the disclosure includes a statement that the rate varies by state and refers the consumer to the account agreement or other disclosure provided with the account-opening table where the rate applicable to the consumer's account is disclosed.

iii. Creditors must explain whether or not a grace period exists for all features on the account. The row heading “Paying Interest” must be used if any one feature on the account does not have a grace period.

iv. Creditors must name the balance computation method used for each feature of the account and state that an explanation of the balance computation method(s) is provided in the account-opening disclosures.

v. Creditors must state that consumers' billing rights are provided in the account-opening disclosures.

vi. If fees on an open-end (not home-secured) plan vary by state and the creditor is providing the account-opening table in person at the time the plan is established in connection with financing the purchase of goods or services the creditor may, at its option, disclose in the account-opening table (A) the specific fee applicable to the consumer's account, or (B) the range of fees, if the disclosure includes a statement that the amount of the fee varies by state and refers the consumer to the account agreement or other disclosure provided with the account-opening table where the fee applicable to the consumer's account is disclosed.

vii. Creditors that must disclose the amount of available credit must state the initial credit limit provided on the account.

viii. Creditors must disclose directly beneath the table the circumstances under which an introductory rate may be revoked and the rate that will apply after the introductory rate is revoked. Issuers of credit card accounts under an open-end (not home-secured) consumer credit plan are subject to limitations on the circumstances under which an introductory rate may be revoked. (See comment 60(b)(1)-5 for guidance on how a card issuer may disclose the circumstances under which an introductory rate may be revoked.)

ix. The applicable forms providing safe harbors for account-opening tables are under appendix G-17 to part 1026.

2. Clear and conspicuous standard. See comment 5(a)(1)-1 for the clear and conspicuous standard applicable to § 1026.6 disclosures.

3. Terminology. Section 1026.6(b)(1) generally requires that the headings, content, and format of the tabular disclosures be substantially similar, but need not be identical, to the tables in appendix G to part 1026; but see § 1026.5(a)(2) for terminology requirements applicable to § 1026.6(b).

6(b)(2) Required Disclosures for Account-Opening Table for Open-End (Not Home-Secured) Plans

1. Fees imposed on the asset feature of a prepaid account in connection with a covered separate credit feature accessible by a hybrid prepaid-credit card. With regard to a covered separate credit feature and an asset feature on a prepaid account that are both accessible by a hybrid prepaid-credit card as defined in § 1026.61, a creditor is required to disclose under § 1026.6(b)(2) any fees or charges imposed on the asset feature that are charges imposed as part of the plan under § 1026.6(b)(3) to the extent those fees fall within the categories of fees or charges required to be disclosed under § 1026.6(b)(2). For example, assume that a creditor imposes a $1.25 per transaction fee on an asset feature of the prepaid account for purchases when a hybrid prepaid-credit card accesses a covered separate credit feature in the course of authorizing, settling, or otherwise completing purchase transactions conducted with the card, and a $0.50 transaction fee for purchases that access funds in the asset feature of a prepaid account in the same program without such a credit feature. In this case, the $0.75 excess is a charge imposed as part of the plan under § 1026.6(b)(3) and must be disclosed under § 1026.6(b)(2)(iv).

2. Fees imposed on the asset feature of a prepaid account that are not charges imposed as part of the plan. A creditor is not required to disclose under § 1026.6(b)(2) any fee or charge imposed on the asset feature of a prepaid account that is not a charge imposed as part of the plan under § 1026.6(b)(3). See § 1026.6(b)(3)(iii)(D) and (E) and related commentary regarding fees imposed on the asset feature of the prepaid account that are not charges imposed as part of the plan under § 1026.6(b)(3).

6(b)(2)(iii) Fixed Finance Charge; Minimum Interest Charge

1. Example of brief statement. See Samples G-17(B), G-17(C), and G-17(D) for guidance on how to provide a brief description of a minimum interest charge.

6(b)(2)(v) Grace Period

1. Grace period. Creditors must state any conditions on the applicability of the grace period. A creditor, however, may not disclose under § 1026.6(b)(2)(v) the limitations on the imposition of finance charges as a result of a loss of a grace period in § 1026.54, or the impact of payment allocation on whether interest is charged on transactions as a result of a loss of a grace period. Some creditors may offer a grace period on all types of transactions under which interest will not be charged on transactions if the consumer pays the outstanding balance shown on a periodic statement in full by the due date shown on that statement for one or more billing cycles. In these circumstances, § 1026.6(b)(2)(v) requires that the creditor disclose the grace period and the conditions for its applicability using the following language, or substantially similar language, as applicable: “Your due date is [at least] _ days after the close of each billing cycle. We will not charge you any interest on your account if you pay your entire balance by the due date each month.” However, other creditors may offer a grace period on all types of transactions under which interest may be charged on transactions even if the consumer pays the outstanding balance shown on a periodic statement in full by the due date shown on that statement each billing cycle. In these circumstances, § 1026.6(b)(2)(v) requires the creditor to amend the above disclosure language to describe accurately the conditions on the applicability of the grace period.

2. No grace period. Creditors may use the following language to describe that no grace period is offered, as applicable: “We will begin charging interest on [applicable transactions] on the transaction date.”

3. Grace period on some features. Some creditors do not offer a grace period on cash advances and balance transfers, but offer a grace period for all purchases under which interest will not be charged on purchases if the consumer pays the outstanding balance shown on a periodic statement in full by the due date shown on that statement for one or more billing cycles. In these circumstances, § 1026.6(b)(2)(v) requires that the creditor disclose the grace period for purchases and the conditions for its applicability, and the lack of a grace period for cash advances and balance transfers using the following language, or substantially similar language, as applicable: “Your due date is [at least] _ days after the close of each billing cycle. We will not charge you any interest on purchases if you pay your entire balance by the due date each month. We will begin charging interest on cash advances and balance transfers on the transaction date.” However, other creditors may offer a grace period on all purchases under which interest may be charged on purchases even if the consumer pays the outstanding balance shown on a periodic statement in full by the due date shown on that statement each billing cycle. In these circumstances, § 1026.6(a)(2)(v) requires the creditor to amend the above disclosure language to describe accurately the conditions on the applicability of the grace period. Also, some creditors may not offer a grace period on cash advances and balance transfers, and will begin charging interest on these transactions from a date other than the transaction date, such as the posting date. In these circumstances, § 1026.6(a)(2)(v) requires the creditor to amend the above disclosure language to be accurate.

6(b)(2)(vi) Balance Computation Method

1. Use of same balance computation method for all features. In cases where the balance for each feature is computed using the same balance computation method, a single identification of the name of the balance computation method is sufficient. In this case, a creditor may use an appropriate name listed in § 1026.60(g) (e.g., “average daily balance (including new purchases)”) to satisfy the requirement to disclose the name of the method for all features on the account, even though the name only refers to purchases. For example, if a creditor uses the average daily balance method including new transactions for all features, a creditor may use the name “average daily balance (including new purchases)” listed in § 1026.60(g)(i) to satisfy the requirement to disclose the name of the balance computation method for all features. As an alternative, in this situation, a creditor may revise the balance computation names listed in § 1026.60(g) to refer more broadly to all new credit transactions, such as using the language “new transactions” or “current transactions” (e.g., “average daily balance (including new transactions)”), rather than simply referring to new purchases when the same method is used to calculate the balances for all features of the account. See Samples G-17(B) and G-17(C) for guidance on how to disclose the balance computation method where the same method is used for all features on the account.

2. Use of balance computation names in § 1026.60(g) for balances other than purchases. The names of the balance computation methods listed in § 1026.60(g) describe balance computation methods for purchases. When a creditor is disclosing the name of the balance computation methods separately for each feature, in using the names listed in § 1026.60(g) to satisfy the requirements of § 1026.6(b)(2)(vi) for features other than purchases, a creditor must revise the names listed in § 1026.60(g) to refer to the other features. For example, when disclosing the name of the balance computation method applicable to cash advances, a creditor must revise the name listed in § 1026.60(g)(i) to disclose it as “average daily balance (including new cash advances)” when the balance for cash advances is figured by adding the outstanding balance (including new cash advances and deducting payments and credits) for each day in the billing cycle, and then dividing by the number of days in the billing cycle. Similarly, a creditor must revise the name listed in § 1026.60(g)(ii) to disclose it as “average daily balance (excluding new cash advances)” when the balance for cash advances is figured by adding the outstanding balance (excluding new cash advances and deducting payments and credits) for each day in the billing cycle, and then dividing by the number of days in the billing cycle. See comment 6(b)(2)(vi)-1 for guidance on the use of one balance computation name when the same balance computation method is used for all features on the account.

6(b)(2)(xiii) Available Credit

1. Right to reject the plan. Creditors may use the following language to describe consumers' right to reject a plan after receiving account-opening disclosures: “You may still reject this plan, provided that you have not yet used the account or paid a fee after receiving a billing statement. If you do reject the plan, you are not responsible for any fees or charges.”

6(b)(3) Disclosure of Charges Imposed as Part of Open-End (Not Home-Secured) Plans

1. When finance charges accrue. Creditors are not required to disclose a specific date when a cost that is a finance charge under § 1026.4 will begin to accrue.

2. Grace periods. In disclosing in the account agreement or disclosure statement whether or not a grace period exists, the creditor need not use any particular descriptive phrase or term. However, the descriptive phrase or term must be sufficiently similar to the disclosures provided pursuant to §§ 1026.60(b)(5) and 1026.6(b)(2)(v) to satisfy a creditor's duty to provide consistent terminology under § 1026.5(a)(2).

3. No finance charge imposed below certain balance. Creditors are not required to disclose the fact that no finance charge is imposed when the outstanding balance is less than a certain amount or the balance below which no finance charge will be imposed.

Paragraph 6(b)(3)(ii)

1. Failure to use the plan as agreed. Late payment fees, over-the-limit fees, and fees for payments returned unpaid are examples of charges resulting from consumers' failure to use the plan as agreed.

2. Examples of fees that affect the plan. Examples of charges the payment, or nonpayment, of which affects the consumer's account are:

i. Access to the plan. Fees for using the card at the creditor's ATM to obtain a cash advance, fees to obtain additional cards including replacements for lost or stolen cards, fees to expedite delivery of cards or other credit devices, application and membership fees, and annual or other participation fees identified in § 1026.4(c)(4).

ii. Amount of credit extended. Fees for increasing the credit limit on the account, whether at the consumer's request or unilaterally by the creditor.

iii. Timing or method of billing or payment. Fees to pay by telephone or via the Internet.

3. Threshold test. If the creditor is unsure whether a particular charge is a cost imposed as part of the plan, the creditor may at its option consider such charges as a cost imposed as part of the plan for purposes of the Truth in Lending Act.

Paragraph 6(b)(3)(iii)(B)

1. Fees for package of services. A fee to join a credit union is an example of a fee for a package of services that is not imposed as part of the plan, even if the consumer must join the credit union to apply for credit. In contrast, a membership fee is an example of a fee for a package of services that is considered to be imposed as part of a plan where the primary benefit of membership in the organization is the opportunity to apply for a credit card, and the other benefits offered (such as a newsletter or a member information hotline) are merely incidental to the credit feature.

Paragraph 6(b)(3)(iii)(D)

1. Fees imposed on the asset feature of the prepaid account in connection with a covered separate credit feature accessible by a hybrid prepaid-credit card. Under § 1026.6(b)(3)(iii)(D), with regard to a covered separate credit feature and an asset feature on a prepaid account that are both accessible by a hybrid prepaid-credit card as defined in § 1026.61, a fee or charge imposed on the asset feature of the prepaid account is not a charge imposed as part of the plan under § 1026.6(b)(3) with respect to a covered separate credit feature to the extent that the amount of the fee or charge does not exceed comparable fees or charges imposed on prepaid accounts in the same prepaid account program that do not have a covered separate credit feature accessed by a hybrid prepaid-credit card. To illustrate:

i. Assume a prepaid account issuer charges a $0.50 per transaction fee on an asset feature of the prepaid account for purchases when a hybrid prepaid-credit card accesses a covered separate credit feature in the course of authorizing, settling, or otherwise completing purchase transactions conducted with the card and a $0.50 transaction fee for purchases that access funds in the asset feature of a prepaid account in the same program without such a credit feature. The $0.50 fees are comparable fees and the $0.50 fee for purchases when a hybrid prepaid-credit card accesses a covered separate credit feature in the course of authorizing, settling, or otherwise completing purchase transactions conducted with the card is not a charge imposed as part of the plan. However, if in this example, the prepaid account issuer imposes a $1.25 per transaction fee on an asset feature of the prepaid account for purchases when a hybrid prepaid-credit card accesses a covered separate credit feature in the course of authorizing, settling, or otherwise completing purchase transactions conducted with the card, the $0.75 excess is a charge imposed as part of the plan. This $0.75 excess also is a finance charge under § 1026.4(b)(11)(ii).

ii. See comment 4(b)(11)(ii)–1 for additional illustrations of when a prepaid account issuer is charging comparable per transaction fees or load or transfer fees on the prepaid account.

Paragraph 6(b)(3)(iii)(E)

1. Fees imposed on the asset feature of a prepaid account in connection with a non-covered separate credit feature. With regard to a non-covered separate credit feature accessible by a prepaid card as defined in § 1026.61, under § 1026.6(b)(3)(iii)(E), none of the fees or charges imposed on the asset balance of the prepaid account are charges imposed as part of the plan under § 1026.6(b)(3) with respect to the non-covered separate credit feature. In addition, none of these fees or charges imposed on the asset feature of the prepaid account are finance charges with respect to the non-covered separate credit feature as discussed in comment 4(b)(11)–1.ii.B.

6(b)(4) Disclosure of Rates for Open-End (Not Home-Secured) Plans

6(b)(4)(i)(B) Range of Balances

1. Range of balances. Creditors are not required to disclose the range of balances:

i. If only one periodic interest rate may be applied to the entire account balance.

ii. If only one periodic interest rate may be applied to the entire balance for a feature (for example, cash advances), even though the balance for another feature (purchases) may be subject to two rates (a 1.5% monthly periodic interest rate on purchase balances of $0-$500, and a 1% periodic interest rate for balances above $500). In this example, the creditor must give a range of balances disclosure for the purchase feature.

6(b)(4)(i)(D) Balance Computation Method

1. Explanation of balance computation method. Creditors do not provide a sufficient explanation of a balance computation method by using a shorthand phrase such as “previous balance method” or the name of a balance computation method listed in § 1026.60(g). (See Model Clauses G-1(A) in appendix G to part 1026. See § 1026.6(b)(2)(vi) regarding balance computation descriptions in the account-opening summary.)

2. Allocation of payments. Creditors may, but need not, explain how payments and other credits are allocated to outstanding balances.

6(b)(4)(ii) Variable-Rate Accounts

1. Variable-rate disclosures - coverage.

i. Examples. Examples of open-end plans that permit the rate to change and are considered variable-rate plans include:

A. Rate changes that are tied to the rate the creditor pays on its six-month certificates of deposit.

B. Rate changes that are tied to Treasury bill rates.

C. Rate changes that are tied to changes in the creditor's commercial lending rate.

ii. Examples of open-end plans that permit the rate to change and are not considered variable-rate include:

A. Rate changes that are invoked under a creditor's contract reservation to increase the rate without reference to such an index or formula (for example, a plan that simply provides that the creditor reserves the right to raise its rates).

B. Rate changes that are triggered by a specific event such as an open-end credit plan in which the employee receives a lower rate contingent upon employment, and the rate increases upon termination of employment.

2. Variable-rate plan — circumstances for increase.

i. The following are examples that comply with the requirement to disclose circumstances under which the rate(s) may increase:

A. “The Treasury bill rate increases.”

B. “The Federal Reserve discount rate increases.”

ii. Disclosing the frequency with which the rate may increase includes disclosing when the increase will take effect; for example:

A. “An increase will take effect on the day that the Treasury bill rate increases.”

B. “An increase in the Federal Reserve discount rate will take effect on the first day of the creditor's billing cycle.”

3. Variable-rate plan — limitations on increase. In disclosing any limitations on rate increases, limitations such as the maximum increase per year or the maximum increase over the duration of the plan must be disclosed. When there are no limitations, the creditor may, but need not, disclose that fact. Legal limits such as usury or rate ceilings under state or Federal statutes or regulations need not be disclosed. Examples of limitations that must be disclosed include:

i. “The rate on the plan will not exceed 25% annual percentage rate.”

ii. “Not more than 1/2; of 1% increase in the annual percentage rate per year will occur.”

4. Variable-rate plan — effects of increase. Examples of effects of rate increases that must be disclosed include:

i. Any requirement for additional collateral if the annual percentage rate increases beyond a specified rate.

ii. Any increase in the scheduled minimum periodic payment amount.

5. Discounted variable-rate plans. In some variable-rate plans, creditors may set an initial interest rate that is not determined by the index or formula used to make later interest rate adjustments. Typically, this initial rate is lower than the rate would be if it were calculated using the index or formula.

i. For example, a creditor may calculate interest rates according to a formula using the six-month Treasury bill rate plus a 2 percent margin. If the current Treasury bill rate is 10 percent, the creditor may forgo the 2 percent spread and charge only 10 percent for a limited time, instead of setting an initial rate of 12 percent, or the creditor may disregard the index or formula and set the initial rate at 9 percent.

ii. When creditors disclose in the account-opening disclosures an initial rate that is not calculated using the index or formula for later rate adjustments, the disclosure should reflect:

A. The initial rate (expressed as a periodic rate and a corresponding annual percentage rate), together with a statement of how long the initial rate will remain in effect;

B. The current rate that would have been applied using the index or formula (also expressed as a periodic rate and a corresponding annual percentage rate); and

C. The other variable-rate information required by § 1026.6(b)(4)(ii).

6(b)(4)(iii) Rate Changes Not Due to Index or Formula

1. Events that cause the initial rate to change.

i. Changes based on expiration of time period. If the initial rate will change at the expiration of a time period, creditors that disclose the initial rate in the account-opening disclosure must identify the expiration date and the fact that the initial rate will end at that time.

ii. Changes based on specified contract terms. If the account agreement provides that the creditor may change the initial rate upon the occurrence of a specified event or events, the creditor must identify the events or events. Examples include the consumer not making the required minimum payment when due, or the termination of an employee preferred rate when the employment relationship is terminated.

2. Rate that will apply after initial rate changes.

i. Increased margins. If the initial rate is based on an index and the rate may increase due to a change in the margin applied to the index, the creditor must disclose the increased margin. If more than one margin could apply, the creditor may disclose the highest margin.

ii. Risk-based pricing. In some plans, the amount of the rate change depends on how the creditor weighs the occurrence of events specified in the account agreement that authorize the creditor to change rates, as well as other factors. Creditors must state the increased rate that may apply. At the creditor's option, the creditor may state the possible rates as a range, or by stating only the highest rate that could be assessed. The creditor must disclose the period for which the increased rate will remain in effect, such as “until you make three timely payments,” or if there is no limitation, the fact that the increased rate may remain indefinitely.

3. Effect of rate change on balances. Creditors must disclose information to consumers about the balance to which the new rate will apply and the balance to which the current rate at the time of the change will apply. Card issuers subject to § 1026.55 may be subject to certain restrictions on the application of increased rates to certain balances.

6(b)(5) Additional Disclosures for Open-End (Not Home-Secured) Plans

6(b)(5)(i) Voluntary Credit Insurance, Debt Cancellation or Debt Suspension

1. Timing. Under § 1026.4(d), disclosures required to exclude the cost of voluntary credit insurance or debt cancellation or debt suspension coverage from the finance charge must be provided before the consumer agrees to the purchase of the insurance or coverage. Creditors comply with § 1026.6(b)(5)(i) if they provide those disclosures in accordance with § 1026.4(d). For example, if the disclosures required by § 1026.4(d) are provided at application, creditors need not repeat those disclosures at account opening.

6(b)(5)(ii) Security Interests

1. General. Creditors are not required to use specific terms to describe a security interest, or to explain the type of security or the creditor's rights with respect to the collateral.

2. Identification of property. Creditors sufficiently identify collateral by type by stating, for example, motor vehicle or household appliances. (Creditors should be aware, however, that the Federal credit practices rules, as well as some state laws, prohibit certain security interests in household goods.) The creditor may, at its option, provide a more specific identification (for example, a model and serial number.)

3. Spreader clause. If collateral for preexisting credit with the creditor will secure the plan being opened, the creditor must disclose that fact. (Such security interests may be known as “spreader” or “dragnet” clauses, or as “cross-collateralization” clauses.) The creditor need not specifically identify the collateral; a reminder such as “collateral securing other loans with us may also secure this loan” is sufficient. At the creditor's option, a more specific description of the property involved may be given.

4. Additional collateral. If collateral is required when advances reach a certain amount, the creditor should disclose the information available at the time of the account-opening disclosures. For example, if the creditor knows that a security interest will be taken in household goods if the consumer's balance exceeds $1,000, the creditor should disclose accordingly. If the creditor knows that security will be required if the consumer's balance exceeds $1,000, but the creditor does not know what security will be required, the creditor must disclose on the initial disclosure statement that security will be required if the balance exceeds $1,000, and the creditor must provide a change-in-terms notice under § 1026.9(c) at the time the security is taken. (See comment 6(b)(5)(ii)-2.)

5. Collateral from third party. Security interests taken in connection with the plan must be disclosed, whether the collateral is owned by the consumer or a third party.

6(b)(5)(iii) Statement of Billing Rights

1. See the commentary to Model Forms G-3(A) and G-4(A).