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CFPB: Federal regulatory intervention may be necessary in mobile payments market

Marla Blow, the assistant director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s card and payment markets division, recently said that federal rules may need to be implemented to keep up with the fast-growing mobile payments industry.

“To the extent that technology companies begin to play roles traditionally performed by banking institutions, we may need to reconsider how well our existing regulations apply to a changed environment,” Blow said in prepared remarks for a Thursday congressional hearing, according to Bloomberg.

The congressional panel will examine regulation of the mobile payments industry. Blow said that the CFPB will be “flexible and responsive” to an evolving marketplace, adding that such a marketplace is beneficial to American consumers.

“Innovation can be greatly advantageous to consumers, offering new tools for people to better control their own finances and plan their own lives,” Blow said, Bloomberg reports. “The connectivity and computing power of a modern smartphone could be used to develop rich applications that provide better services at lower costs.”

Blow added that “the very nature of mobile payments” could pose a risk to consumers. Many small mobile device screens make it difficult to present disclosures of terms and conditions, which Blow said could be easily bypassed.

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