Consumer Group Calls for Regulation of "BigTech" Payment Systems

Advocate Andy

Move Follows Consumer Bureau's Inquiry Action

In October, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced it is examining “BigTech” payment systems to determine consumer protection issues that may require further regulation. Today, the Consumer Federation of America released its comments on the issue.

“We appreciate the CFPB’s careful examination of these largely unchecked BigTech Giants and hope that this inquiry signals to others operating outside of the regulatory system that they will be held accountable for any consumer harm,” said Rachel Gittleman, Financial Services Outreach Manager for Consumer Federation of America.

CFA is calling on the CFPB to pay particular attention to consumer choice, transparency, and the prevalence of fraud in their examination of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Paypal, and Square.

In announcing the inquiry, the CFPB pointed to the rapidly expanding financial empires being built by the BigTech companies under scrutiny.

“Big Tech companies are eagerly expanding their empires to gain greater control and insight into our spending habits,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. “We have ordered them to produce information about their business plans and practices.”

CFA has outlined a number of concerns, including in the areas of diminished competition, consumer harms, and unfair and deceptive practices.

Another consumer group, Public Citizen, has also expressed support for the move by the CFPB.

Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen, said:

“The action taken by the CFPB is what Americans need and expect from financial regulators. The Bureau was designed to protect us from unfair practices, especially corporate schemes that a regular person can’t possibly know are occurring, and it’s doing just that under Rohit Chopra’s leadership.
“From what we know about Big Tech firms — their untrustworthiness, their maniacal interest in surveillance at the expense of consumer privacy, their commitment to cross-fertilization among products and revenue chains — there’s every reason to worry that widespread, serious abuses will accompany their expanding involvement in the financial sector. Thank you, CFPB, for identifying and getting ahead of this issue before it emerges as the next consumer finance scandal.”

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Andy Spears is a middle Tennessee writer and policy advocate. He reports on news around public policy issues - education, health care, consumer protection, and more.

Nashville, TN

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