This is a guest blog post by Zixta Q. Martinez, Associate Director, External Relations, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Do you send money to family, friends or others outside the United States? Now it’s easier to get clear information about costs and exchange rates before you pay, and get answers if something goes wrong.
Consumers send tens of billions of dollars from the United States to foreign countries each year. Not surprisingly, a large share is sent to Latin America and many of the senders are of Hispanic origin. In fact, remittances and other transfers from abroad are so prevalent to Latin America, it is estimated they make up a significant share of the GDP in a number of Latin American countries. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recognizes the importance of the growing Latino population and is committed to addressing concerns unique to the Hispanic community.
Prior to the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, these international money transfers were generally not covered by federal consumer protection regulations. The Dodd-Frank Act expanded the scope of the Electronic Fund Transfer Act to provide protections for senders of remittance transfers.
The rule went into effect this week. Consumers who make transfers covered by this law will receive a number of new protections, including:
- Free, upfront information about the exchange rate, fees and taxes they’d pay.
- Information on the amount to be received.
- The right to cancel most transfers within thirty minutes at no cost.
- 180 days to report errors or problems to the company.
- Companies will have up to 90 days to investigate, and must correct certain types of errors.
The CFPB has created a number of resources to spread the word available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog and French-Creole. You can learn more about this new law and details about other financial products and services on the CFPB website, www.consumerfinance.gov/askcfpb or www.consumerfinance.gov/es (en español).
If you have a complaint and you’re not sure where to turn, submit a complaint to the CFPB. We’ll forward your complaint to the company and work to get a response from them. Visit the CFPB website, or call us at (855) 411-2372 (CFPB). We can help in more than 180 different languages.
The Bureau is focused on making the consumer financial markets work for families by empowering consumers to take more control over their financial lives. The remittance transfer rule was designed to bring new levels of transparency to international money transfers.
I am proud that the Bureau’ s remittance transfer rule will provide new protections to consumers who send remittances to loved ones or others abroad.