The CFPB issued a series of orders for the collection of information to Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, PayPal and Square regarding how these firms use personal payments data and manage data access.

Pursuant to Section 1022(c)(4)(B)(ii) of the Consumer Financial Protection Act, the CFPB ordered the identified firms to file information on, among other things:

  • their payment products, data harvesting (i.e., data collected on consumers' use of the product) and how the company monetizes product data;
  • access restrictions, consumer and commercial user eligibility, and product-use metrics, including handling of complaints; and
  • descriptions of their consumer protections in place, including disclosures about data practices and the monitoring of fraudulent activity in their products.

The technology companies must submit their responses by December 15, 2021. The CFPB's orders follow similar actions recently taken by the FTC to increase transparency around technology companies' integration of payment products into operating systems in order to promote fair and competitive markets.

CFPB Director Rohit Chopra contextualized the request for information by raising, among others, the following questions:

  • whether companies engage in "invasive financial surveillance," combining consumer data with a consumer's geolocation and browsing data to profit from "behavioral targeting";
  • whether companies will use product data "to deepen behavioral advertising, engage in price discrimination, or sell to third parties";
  • what factors technology companies use when denying participation on the platform; and
  • how effectively technology companies manage complaints, disputes and errors.

The CFPB also stated that it will study the integration of payment system practices in the operating systems of large Chinese technology companies, including Alipay and WeChat Pay.

Primary Sources

  1. CFPB Press Release: CFPB Orders Tech Giants to Turn Over Information on their Payment System Plans
  2. CFPB Example Order
  3. CFPB Statement, Rohit Chopra: Statement Regarding the CFPB's Inquiry into Big Tech Payment Platforms

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