Notice and Request for Comment Regarding the CFPB's Inquiry Into Big Tech Payment Platforms

CourtConsumer Financial Protection Bureau
Citation86 FR 61182
Publication Date05 November 2021
Record Number2021-24176
61182
Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 212 / Friday, November 5, 2021 / Notices
1
An example order can be found at https://
www.consumerfinance.gov/documents/10176/cfpb_
section-1022_generic-order_2021-10.pdf.
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[FR Doc. 2021–24255 Filed 11–4–21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6353–01–P
BUREAU OF CONSUMER FINANCIAL
PROTECTION
[Docket No. CFPB–2021–0017]
Notice and Request for Comment
Regarding the CFPB’s Inquiry Into Big
Tech Payment Platforms
AGENCY
: Bureau of Consumer Financial
Protection.
ACTION
: Notice; request for comment.
SUMMARY
: On October 21, 2021, the
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
(Bureau or CFPB) ordered six large
technology companies operating
payments systems in the United States
to provide information about certain of
their business practices. The
information will help the CFPB better
understand how these firms use
personal payments data and manage
data access to users so the Bureau can
ensure adequate consumer protection.
Accompanying the orders, the Director
of the Bureau issued a statement which
is reprinted in this document for public
review and comment. The Bureau
invites any interested parties, including
consumers, small businesses, advocates,
financial institutions, investors, and
experts in privacy, technology, and
national security to submit comments to
inform the agency’s inquiry.
DATES
: Comments must be received on
or before December 6, 2021.
ADDRESSES
: You may submit comments,
identified by Docket No. CFPB–2021–
0017, by any of the following methods:
Federal eRulemaking Portal:
https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the
instructions for submitting comments.
Email: BigTechPaymentsInquiry@
cfpb.gov. Include Docket No. CFPB–
2021–0017 in the subject line of the
message.
Mail/Hand Delivery/Courier:
Comment Intake—Statement into Big
Tech Payment Platforms, Bureau of
Consumer Financial Protection, 1700 G
Street NW, Washington, DC 20552.
Please note that due to circumstances
associated with the COVID–19
pandemic, the Bureau discourages the
submission of comments by hand
delivery, mail, or courier.
Instructions: The Bureau encourages
the early submission of comments. All
submissions should include document
title and docket number. Because paper
mail in the Washington, DC area and at
the Bureau is subject to delay,
commenters are encouraged to submit
comments electronically. In general, all
comments received will be posted
without change to https://
www.regulations.gov. In addition, once
the Bureau’s headquarters reopens,
comments will be available for public
inspection and copying at 1700 G Street
NW, Washington, DC 20552, on official
business days between the hours of 10
a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern Time. At that
time, you can make an appointment to
inspect the documents by telephoning
202–435–7275.
All comments, including attachments
and other supporting materials, will
become part of the public record and
subject to public disclosure. Proprietary
information or sensitive personal
information, such as account numbers
or Social Security numbers, or names of
other individuals, should not be
included. Comments will not be edited
to remove any identifying or contact
information.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
:
Amy Zirkle, Program Manager for
Payments & Deposits, (202) 435–7505. If
you require this document in an
alternative electronic format, please
contact CFPB_Accessibility@cfpb.gov.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION
:
I. Background
The following statement was issued
by the Bureau’s Director, Rohit Chopra,
on October 21, 2021. This statement
accompanied orders issued to six large
technology companies operating
payments systems in the United States
to provide information about certain of
their business practices.
1
The Bureau
invites any interested parties to submit
comments to inform the agency’s
inquiry.
II. October 21, 2021 Statement
Faster, friction-less, and cheaper
payment systems offer significant
potential benefits to consumers,
workers, their families, and small
businesses in the United States. For
example, families can send money to
friends without delay, or to relatives
overseas at lower costs. Fast payment
systems can also help small businesses
succeed with quicker transactions,
lower cost, and more revenue
conversion. And faster settlement can
reduce the need for families and
businesses to borrow.
But payments businesses are network
businesses and can gain tremendous
scale and market power, potentially
posing new risks and undermining fair
competition. Furthermore, knowing
what we spend our money on is a
valuable source of data on consumer
behavior. This data can be monetized by
companies that seek to profit from
behavioral targeting, particularly around
advertising and e-commerce. That many
Big Tech companies aspire to grow in
this space only heightens these
concerns.
In China, we can already see the long-
term implications of these forces. Alipay
and WeChat Pay are deeply imbedded
into the lives of the Chinese public,
combining messaging, e-commerce and
payment functionality into super-apps.
In such a market, consumers have little
choice but to use these apps and little
market power to shape how their data
is used.
Today the Consumer Financial
Protection Bureau (CFPB) has ordered
six technology platforms offering
payment services to turn over
information about their products, plans
and practices when it comes to
payments. The orders were issued to
Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon,
Square, and PayPal. The CFPB will also
study the practices of the Chinese tech
giants that offer payments services, such
as WeChat Pay and Alipay.
Congress has tasked the CFPB with
ensuring that markets for consumer
financial products and services are fair,
transparent, and competitive. To that
end, it has authorized the CFPB to
require participants in the marketplace
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61183
Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 212 / Friday, November 5, 2021 / Notices
2
In 2019, I joined global privacy regulators to
seek information about Facebook’s Libra project. At
the time, the company failed to substantively
respond. See https://www.priv.gc.ca/en/opc-news/
speeches/2019/s-d_190805/.
3
The law currently provides for a number of
safeguards in the payments sector, including but
not limited to the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, the
Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, and the Consumer
Financial Protection Act.
to provide information that help the
Bureau monitor risks to consumers and
to publish aggregated findings that are
in the public interest.
Little is known publicly about how
Big Tech companies will exploit their
payments platforms. For example, will
the operators engage in invasive
financial surveillance and combine the
data they collect on consumers with
their geolocation and browsing data?
2
Will they in turn use this data to deepen
behavioral advertising, engage in price
discrimination, or sell to third parties?
Will these companies operate their
payment platforms in a manner that
interferes with fair, transparent, and
competitive markets? Will the payment
platforms be truly neutral, or will they
use their scale to extract rents from
market participants? Will small
businesses feel coerced into
participating in the payment platform
out of fear of being suppressed or
hidden in search or product listings? If
these tech companies enter a market
that competes with other providers on
the platform, will these providers be
removed or otherwise disadvantaged?
What factors will these tech companies
use when disqualifying or delisting an
individual or business from
participating on the platform?
Finally, how will these payment
platforms ensure that key consumer
protections are adhered to? How
effectively do they manage complaints,
disputes and errors? Are they
sufficiently staffed to ensure adequate
steps are taken to address consumer
protection and provide responsive
customer service when things go
wrong?
3
The CFPB’s inquiry will help to
inform regulators and policymakers
about the future of our payments
system. Importantly, it will also yield
insights that may help the CFPB to
implement other statutory
responsibilities, including any potential
rulemaking under Section 1033 of the
Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and
Consumer Protection Act. The CFPB’s
orders build on the efforts of the Federal
Trade Commission’s work to shed light
on the business practices of the largest
technology companies in the world.
The CFPB’s inquiry is one of many
efforts within the Federal Reserve
System to plan for the future of real-
time payments and to ensure a fair and
competitive payments system in our
country. The Bureau intends to open a
Federal Register docket to invite public
comment. I invite any interested parties
to submit comments to inform the
agency’s inquiry.
Dated: November 1, 2021.
Rohit Chopra,
Director, Bureau of Consumer Financial
Protection.
[FR Doc. 2021–24176 Filed 11–4–21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4810–AM–P
U.S. INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
FINANCE CORPORATION
Notice of Public Hearing
AGENCY
: U.S. International Development
Finance Corporation
ACTION
: Announcement of public
hearing.
SUMMARY
: The Board of Directors of the
U.S. International Development Finance
Corporation (‘‘DFC’’) will hold a public
hearing on December 8, 2021. This
hearing will afford an opportunity for
any person to present views in
accordance with the BUILD Act of 2018.
Those wishing to present at the hearing
must provide advance notice to the
agency as detailed below.
DATES
: Public hearing: 2:00 p.m.,
Wednesday, December 8, 2021.
Deadline for notifying agency of an
intent to attend or present at the public
hearing: 5:00 p.m., Wednesday,
December 1, 2021.
Deadline for submitting a written
statement: 5:00 p.m., Wednesday,
December 1, 2021.
ADDRESSES
: Public hearing: Virtual;
Access information provided at the time
of attendance registration.
You may send notices of intent to
attend, present, or submit a written
statement to Catherine F.I. Andrade,
DFC Corporate Secretary, via email at
candrade@dfc.gov.
Instructions: A notice of intent to
attend the public hearing or to present
at the public hearing must include the
individual’s name, title, organization,
address, email, telephone number, and
a concise summary of the subject matter
to be presented. Oral presentations may
not exceed five (5) minutes. The time for
individual presentations may be
reduced proportionately, if necessary, to
afford all participants who have
submitted a timely request an
opportunity to be heard. Submission of
written statements must include the
individual’s name, title, organization,
address, email, and telephone number.
The statement must be typewritten,
double-spaced, and may not exceed ten
(10) pages.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
:
Catherine F.I. Andrade, DFC Corporate
Secretary, (202) 336–8768, or
candrade@dfc.gov.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION
: The
public hearing will take place via video-
and teleconference. Upon registering,
participants and observers will be
provided instructions on accessing the
hearing. DFC will prepare an agenda for
the hearing identifying speakers, setting
forth the subject on which each
participant will speak, and the time
allotted for each presentation. The
agenda will be available at the time of
the hearing.
Authority: 22 U.S.C. 9613(c).
Catherine F.I. Andrade,
DFC Corporate Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2021–24155 Filed 11–4–21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3210–02–P
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Applications for New Awards; Basic
Needs for Postsecondary Students
Program
AGENCY
: Office of Postsecondary
Education, Department of Education.
ACTION
: Notice.
SUMMARY
: The Department of Education
(Department) is issuing a notice inviting
applications (NIA) for new awards for
fiscal year (FY) 2021 for the Basic Needs
for Postsecondary Students Program,
Assistance Listing Number 84.116N.
This notice relates to the approved
information collection under OMB
control number 1894–0006.
DATES
:
Applications Available: November 5,
2021.
Deadline for Transmittal of
Applications: December 6, 2021.
ADDRESSES
: For the addresses for
obtaining and submitting an
application, please refer to our Common
Instructions for Applicants to
Department of Education Discretionary
Grant Programs, published in the
Federal Register on February 13, 2019
(84 FR 3768), and available at
www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2019-
02-13/pdf/2019-02206.pdf.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
:
Njeri Clark, U.S. Department of
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW,
Room 2B168, Washington, DC 20202–
4260. Telephone: (202) 453–6224.
Email: Njeri.Clark@ed.gov.
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