A View From Washington: What To Expect For Payments in 2017

A View From Washington: What To Expect For Payments in 2017

A View From Washington: What To Expect For Payments in 2017

Scott Talbott

Scott Talbott

Scott Talbott, J.D., C.P.A., is SVP of government affairs at the Electronic Transactions Association. He is an experienced policy advocate and communicator with two decades of experience in Washington.

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The elections are over, the moving vans have left and D.C. denizens are adjusting to the new administration, a new cabinet and a new session of Congress.

For better or for worse, President Trump is spending his first 100 days at a frenetic pace. He's issuing executive orders and working to build his team. While much is still in flux, it makes sense to examine what policy issues will be in play for the payments industry during 2017.

Legislative updates

  • Congressional Review Act (CRA) – The CRA allows Congress to repeal certain recently enacted regulations. Congress has already moved to repeal a number of so-called 11th-hour regulations issued during the previous administration.

  • Data Breach Standards – As the number of data breaches increases, Congress will continue its work to create a uniform national standard for companies who are victims of cyberattacks. A uniform law will help companies who operate in all 50 states better alert consumers whose personal information was stolen.

  • Operation Choke Point (OCP) – The new Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, testified during his confirmation hearings that he would end any remaining vestiges of OCP. OCP was a program to 'choke-off' certain merchants from accessing the payments system.

  • Telephone Consumer Protection Act Modernization (TCPA) –The TCPA was enacted in 1991, when land lines were popular and text messaging was not. With rapidly changing technology, the TCPA – designed to end unwanted telemarketing calls – has become an impediment to communication between financial institutions and merchants with their customers.

  • Tax Reform – The Trump Administration has made tax reform a major goal of his first year, pledging to reduce income tax rates for corporations and individuals.

Regulatory updates

President Trump will appoint key leadership staff at all the federal regulators. As a result, we must also examine what the new batch of federal regulators are working on that will affect the payments industry.

  • Federal Regulators Cyber Regulations – A group of federal banking regulators has proposed new cyber regulations, aimed at third-party providers, including fintech companies. The risk to the payments industry is that any final regulations use a one-size-fits-all approach and are not tailored to account for different risk profiles of individual companies.

  • Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) FinTech Charter – The OCC's proposed new charter for fintech companies would provide certainty, but the payments industry recommends that the OCC tailor any regulatory requirements to the risk profile of the applicant. It also recommends giving the applicant a large degree of credit for being inclusive by being involved in fintech.

What's ahead?

Just as the landscape in Washington, D.C. has changed with new names and faces, the electronic payments industry is changing, driven by new technology, new entrants and new products. Our industry remains perpetually focused on an efficient, secure payments process that simultaneously protects consumers and businesses and combats fraud. With a new administration in Washington, it is a crucial time for the payments industry to weigh in and help shape policy.

The statements and opinions of the writer do not necessarily reflect those of TSYS.

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Scott Talbott

Scott Talbott, J.D., C.P.A., is SVP of government affairs at the Electronic Transactions Association. He is an experienced policy advocate and communicator with two decades of experience in Washington. Talbott has represented the largest financial services firms in the country before Congress and federal regulators, most notably during the fiscal crisis. He is also an expert on communication, appearing regularly on national and international media. He has been called the voice of the financial services industry and one of the most recognizable faces in the industry.

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