Pew Unveils GPR Model Disclosure Box to Promote Comparison Shopping (March 3, 2014)
The Pew Charitable Trusts has unveiled a model disclosure box for GPR cards, and recommends that GPR card providers print it on a fold-out sheet about 7 inches square and add it to GPR card packages sold at retail, making it easier for consumers to compare products. Pew outlines its proposed new model fee box in its latest study, “The Need for Improved Disclosures for General Purpose Reloadable Prepaid Cards,” released Feb. 26.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. last week announced plans to adopt Pew’s GPR model disclosure box for its Chase Liquid GPR card, sold only at its bank branches. Chase will display the product’s details using Pew’s box on a separate sheet, and the disclosure box also will be displayed online, according to Susan Weinstock, director of Pew’s safe checking research.
Pew’s model GPR disclosure box borrows some concepts from one the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) proposed in March 2012, Weinstock tells Paybefore. “The CFSI disclosure box for GPR cards was a great step in the right direction and we used some of its concepts,” she says, noting that uses an approach similar to the CFSI’s in how it lists and categorizes types of GPR card fees. But with its own GPR model box, Pew aimed to mirror a checking account disclosure box it already developed for simplicity and consumer convenience. Since Pew introduced its model checking account disclosure box in September 2012, 26 banks covering about half of U.S. bank deposit volume have adopted it, according to Weinstock.
In a brief accompanying its latest study, Pew is recommending that GPR card providers plug their fees into its model disclosure box printed on a fold-out sheet that may be attached to the inside front flap of the packaging for GPR cards sold at retail. FDIC insurance information could be printed on the reverse side of the same sheet, Pew proposes. “We examined GPR cards on j-hooks and believe that adding this sheet of disclosures would still leave room for marketing materials on the existing packaging,” Weinstock suggests. “Then consumers could pull out the sheet and compare products in the store, just like the nutrition labels on different cans of soup.”
Pew released its first major study of GPR cards in March 2012. A second report released Feb. 6, 2013, examined 66 GPR cards, in which Pew concluded that consumer costs for GPR cards have decreased over the past year and, in many cases, GPR cards offer lower and fewer fees than basic checking accounts. But Pew contended that nearly every one of the GPR cards it studied for the Feb. 6 report failed to disclose at least one type of fee, service or consumer protection, and recommended further federal regulations to ensure consumer protection.