Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

CFPB Inquiry Into Unchecked BigTech Giants Is Needed to Protect Consumers

CFPB Must Ensure Fairness, Transparency, and Consumer Choice in Examination of BigTech Payment Systems

Washington D.C. – Today, CFA submitted comments to the CFPB in support of its inquiry into BigTech. 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 late October, the Bureau sent a series of orders to these U.S. companies and two additional Chinese tech giants requesting information on their payment system plans.

“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 has long documented that these companies have massive amounts of unchecked powers which has led to diminished competition, privacy violations, consumer harm, and deceptive and unfair practices. These companies have already been the focus of many regulatory and congressional investigations for harmful consumer practices, illustrating further necessity for this important inquiry. CFA is increasingly concerned that the power amassed by these tech companies is not only anticompetitive but will lead to consumer harm and further blur the line between commerce and banking.

The comments discuss the high prevalence of fraud in person-to-person payments (p2p) and calls on the CFPB to meaningfully address how consumers are protected from theft on these platforms. Additionally, the comments raise concerns that the massively amassed and unchecked power of these giants will lead to diminished consumer choice, insufficient transparency, and expansion into even more volatile products.

CFA also joined 64 groups in another comment letter to the CFPB urging the CFPB to require p2p providers to protect consumers from fraud and errors, and to work with the Federal Reserve Board to ensure protections are in place before the Fed launches its new FedNow p2p service.

Contact: Rachel Gittleman, 609-571-5953