A wide array of federal laws and agencies govern nearly every aspect of consumer financial services, providing important consumer protections and guard rails. INFiN and its members support federal regulations that ensure hardworking consumers have the options and resources they need to choose the financial solution that works best for their personal situation, while providing a level playing field across competing products and services. INFiN and its members are committed to enabling access to consumer financial services, including credit options, through innovative products and services offered in full compliance with federal laws and regulations.
The consumer financial services industry is highly regulated at the state level, with statutes and regulations in every state in which INFiN members operate. These laws have been carefully debated, studied, and enacted based on the unique needs of state residents, balancing access to vital financial services with meaningful consumer protections. There is no one-size-fits-all regulatory solution in consumer financial services; the needs of each state and its communities differ. State and local lawmakers and regulators are in a position to best understand their constituents, and INFiN members work to ensure consumers’ voices are heard.
Studies continue to show that at least 40% of Americans struggle to make ends meet, with tens of millions of families living paycheck to paycheck and many need to borrow to manage unexpected bills. An annual Federal Reserve report found that nearly 40 percent of the people surveyed said they could not cover a hypothetical expense of $400.
INFiN members foster a more inclusive financial services marketplace, bridging a gap in the market that other financial institutions have chosen not to fill, and ensuring critical access to essential, regulated financial services and liquidity that help consumers attain greater financial experience, security, and upward mobility wherever they are in their financial journey. Millions of hardworking families depend on consumer financial services to manage their financial obligations or weather unexpected hardships. These products and services are often the least expensive option for consumers, particularly compared to bank fees, unregulated loans, and penalties for late bill payments.
Regulated consumer financial services providers maintain transparency in all communications and transactions with consumers. Consumers know and understand the costs of their transactions up front and can plan accordingly. There are no hidden fees or surprises, offering peace of mind and simplicity that consumers need and demand.
A growing number of businesses no longer accept cash, and many government agencies at the federal and state levels only issue payments via direct deposit or prepaid card, instead of offering paper checks. Yet millions of Americans, especially those who are underbanked or unbanked, prefer to pay in cash or receive paper checks for government benefits. Without these convenient options, consumers can experience additional, unwanted costs, and, in the case of government payments, endure delays in accessing critical benefits. Many transactions, including, for example, rent payments, cannot be made with prepaid cards. Low-to-moderate-income consumers, ethnic and racial minorities, the elderly and the disabled are most impacted by these changes. It is critical that all Americans have the choice of making and receiving payments by the means that are most convenient to them.
The threat from unregulated operators and scammers continues to grow, creating confusion and consequences for consumers, particularly those in need of access to credit. All INFiN members hold licenses in the states in which they operate, and advocate for regulatory action to protect consumers from illegal, illegitimate actors. INFiN members also report suspicious transactions to regulatory authorities, protecting consumers and our financial system from crime. INFiN and its members work to alert consumers and their communities about increases in scams, including red flags to watch for and where to call with questions or report unregulated activity.
INFiN serves as the financial service center industry's leading voice on issues that affect its members.