Building Broad Support for EBT Choice & Security
From civil rights groups to fintechs, a broad spectrum of anti-poverty, anti-hunger, pro-consumer protection, and financial services organizations are advocating on behalf of low-income Americans for EBT inclusion in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's proposed Personal Financial Data Rights rule.
Join us in submitting feedback to the Bureau now through December 29.
NOVEMBER 16, 2023
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has proposed a new rule to give consumers more choice, control, and protection for their personal financial data. While the proposal is a win for all Americans, action is needed to ensure that low-income consumers don’t get left behind. With under six weeks left in the public comment period, now is the time to tell the CFPB to include Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) accounts in their proposed rule.
The forthcoming regulations grant consumers a legal right to access and secure their vital financial information, including account balances and transaction history. If consumers are dissatisfied with the services they receive from their financial institution, they will be free to use third-party tools that better meet their needs – without worrying that their information will be unfairly exploited.
Critically, the CFPB proposal currently excludes public benefit accounts. Without these rights, over 41 million of the most economically disadvantaged American consumers will not have the same rights and protections over their data as do other Americans.
A broad spectrum of anti-poverty, anti-hunger, pro-consumer protection, and financial services organizations has previously urged the CFPB to extend equal rights and protections to low-income Americans who use EBT accounts. Nearly 40 comments from such groups were submitted to the CFPB during the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) consultation period earlier this year. Here is a sampling of the organizations and their comments to the CFPB:
The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC): “This proposed approach would double down on policy exclusions that have resulted in "second class" treatment of low-income Americans.”
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP): “EBT was designed with the intent of providing a government benefits payment experience that is similar to the payment methods of other, non-SNAP households. SNAP households deserve the same protections and services that non-SNAP households enjoy…Currently, the consumer experience of EBT cardholders does not align with the experience of bank issued debit card holders.”
Feeding America: “[D]ata access [is] an essential tool to empower people who use public benefits to monitor their accounts for suspicious activity and protect themselves from theft.”
UnidosUS: “Strengthening access to balance and transactional information for low-income SNAP beneficiaries, including millions of Latinos, is critical for a host of reasons, including to empower consumers…The CFPB should work to ensure that everyone benefits from new rules based on Section 1033 by extending coverage to government benefit accounts.”
Plaid: “[C]onsumers would benefit from the inclusion of government benefit accounts used to distribute needs-based benefits programs…These lower-income individuals may be unbanked or underbanked and thus stand to benefit from financial products and services that can save them time and money and help them make financial decisions.”
While these past comments strongly inform the public record on support for EBT inclusion in the proposed rule, the CFPB is asking for further input on whether to grant the same rights, choice, and security provisions to EBT account holders from now through December 29.
We urge you to join us and a broad cross-section of leaders from fintech, anti-poverty, anti-hunger, and consumer protection groups in advocating on behalf of consumers with low incomes.
To read more on the issue, check out the first post in our blog series. To share questions, feedback, or to find out how you can help, email Propel’s policy director, Justin King (firstname.lastname@example.org).