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CFSA Member Best Practices

Leadership. Integrity. Compliance.

CFSA firmly believes that payday advance transactions should be conducted in a safe and responsible manner, with appropriate consumer protections. To that end, CFSA members must abide by mandated industry Best Practices that ensure responsible conduct among lenders, protect borrowers’ rights, and encourage self-governance of the payday advance industry.

Among the Best Practices are requirements to display fees in large type on posters in all store locations and offer customers the option of an Extended Payment Plan, at no additional charge, if they cannot repay their loan when due. CFSA member companies are required to comply with industry Best Practices that ensure consumer protections and responsible lending to all customers. As a condition of membership, members must abide by all CFSA Best Practices and pledge their commitment to them annually.

In addition, member companies are required to affix the CFSA Member Seal to the window of each store and prominently display CFSA Best Practices counter cards. Members also encourage the responsible use of payday loans by providing new customers with a 'Your Guide to Responsible Use of Payday Advances' brochure, both in English and Spanish.

A member will comply with the disclosure requirements of the state in which the payday advance office is located and with federal disclosure requirements including the Federal Truth in Lending Act. A contract between a member and the customer must fully outline the terms of the payday advance transaction. Members agree to disclose the cost of the service fee both as a dollar amount and as an annual percentage rate (“APR”). A member, in compliance with CFSA guidelines where they do not conflict with applicable federal, state or local requirements, will further ensure full disclosure by making rates clearly visible to customers before they enter into the transaction process.

A member will comply with all applicable laws. A member will not charge a fee or rate for a payday advance that is not authorized by state or federal law.

A member will not advertise the payday advance service in any false, misleading, or deceptive manner, and will promote only the responsible use of the payday advance service.

A member will implement procedures to inform consumers of the intended use of the payday advance service. These procedures will include the placement of a “Customer Notice” on all marketing materials, including all television, print, radio and on-line advertising, direct mail and in-store promotional materials.

Members shall not allow customers to rollover a payday advance (the extension of an outstanding advance by payment of only a fee) unless expressly authorized by state law, but in such cases where authorized the member will limit rollovers to four or the state limit, whichever is less.

A member will give its customers the right to rescind, at no cost, a payday advance transaction on or before the close of the following business day.

A member must collect past due accounts in a professional, fair and lawful manner. A member will not use unlawful threats, intimidation, or harassment to collect accounts. CFSA believes that the collection limitations contained in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) should guide a member’s practice in this area.

A member will not threaten or pursue criminal action against a customer as a result of the customer’s check being returned unpaid or the customer’s account not being paid.

A member will participate in self-policing of the industry. A member will be expected to report violations of these Best Practices to CFSA, which will investigate the matter and take appropriate action. Each member company agrees to maintain and post its own toll-free consumer hotline number in each of its outlets.

A member will work with state legislators and regulators to support responsible legislation of the payday advance industry that incorporates these Best Practices.

Each member will provide customers who are unable to repay a payday advance according to their original contract the option of repaying the advance over a longer period of time. Such an extended payment plan will be offered in compliance with any requirement in state law to provide an extended payment plan or, in the absence of such a requirement in state law, in compliance with the Best Practice “Guidelines for Extended Payment Plans.” A member will adequately disclose the availability of the Extended Payment Plan to its customers in compliance with any requirement in state law for such a disclosure or, in the absence of such a requirement in state law, in compliance with the Best Practice “Guidelines for Extended Payment Plans.”

* Laws in some states do not permit implementation of CFSA's Extended Payment Plan (EPP). CFSA is working with regulators in these states to obtain approval of CFSA's EPP and with legislators to promote its adoption into state law.

A member that offers payday advances through the Internet shall be licensed in each state where its payday advance customers reside and shall comply with the disclosure, rollover, rate, and other requirements imposed by each such state, unless such state does not require the lender to be licensed or to comply with such provisions, or the state licensing requirements and other applicable laws are preempted by federal law.

A member company shall prominently display the CFSA Membership Seal in all stores to alert customers to the store’s affiliation with the association and adherence to the association’s Best Practices.

In This Section:

When used on a recurring basis for small amounts, the annualized percentage rate for fee-based bounce [overdraft] protection far exceeds the APRs associated with payday loans."

Sheila Bair
Former Chairman
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

Connecting With Our Communities

Managing household finances can be a daunting task. However, by using solid budgeting and savings techniques, you can accomplish major financial goals. In the Customer Resource Center, CFSA offers a variety of payday advance resources that support and encourage responsible lending practices, and highlight the vital role of our members’ stores in neighborhoods near you.

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Here you will find an aggregate of industry research, comprehensive data, and benchmarking tools from the short-term lending industry. They cover all payday advance business areas – consumer demographics, media hits, the latest policy initiatives, among others. Click here to access to the partner's resource library.

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For Our Policymakers

CFSA works at the federal, state, and local levels educate legislators and regulators about the role of payday advances in the broader financial services arena. This section provides resources for policymakers who believe in access to credit, want to preserve financial options and ensure balanced, substantive consumer protections. Click here to enter the Policymaker Resource Library.