Ensuring Choice & Security for EBT Users
With its proposed rule on Personal Financial Data Rights, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is sending a message that consumer control, choice, and security will be core principles in the financial services industry’s continued evolution.
However, the current draft regulation leaves the question of EBT inclusion open. Join us in advocating for consumers with low incomes during the CFPB’s public comment period from now through December 29. Learn more about the issue in the first installment of our blog series below.
NOVEMBER 7, 2023
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) just released a transformative draft regulation offering consumers new rights to choose how to access and secure their financial data. However, the proposed blueprint falls short of extending equal rights and protections to over 41 million low-income Americans who rely on Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) accounts to manage their personal finances. The good news is that the CFPB is seeking your input on whether equal rights for EBT users should come now or later. Our stance is clear: why wait?
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 one 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 for commercial interests.
As it stands, the framework covers some accounts that Americans across income brackets use, like checking accounts, credit cards, and digital wallets. However, it currently excludes EBT accounts that are critical for people enrolled in public benefit programs such as SNAP and TANF. The CFPB, to its credit, recognizes that EBT account data is key to the day-to-day management of finances in low-income households, and is requesting input on “whether to add EBT-related data to the final rule, or whether to reach EBT cards in a subsequent rulemaking.”
At Propel, we believe a more inclusive US financial system is essential to support Americans often overlooked by traditional tech innovation and financial services. Extending freedom of choice and the promise of data security to all, regardless of income, should be a non-negotiable principle.
“People with low incomes and who rely on EBT accounts need to know their account balances to the penny, and to the minute,” wrote Propel CEO and co-founder Jimmy Chen in a statement. “They deserve high-quality data access that helps them budget, plan, and avoid being victims of theft and fraud. EBT account holders are too often left behind. These are the consumers the CFPB was formed to serve and protect – we urge the CFPB to provide them with equal treatment in the final rule.”
The CFPB is accepting public comment 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 in advocating on behalf of consumers with low incomes. In the coming weeks, we will share a series of blog posts highlighting their experiences with data access and showcasing support from anti-hunger, anti-poverty, and pro-consumer protection organizations for EBT’s inclusion in the CFPB’s rule.
To share questions, feedback, or to find out how you can help, email Propel’s policy director, Justin King (email@example.com).