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    Central Bank Resolution improves rules for credit cards

    May 24th, by Arnaldo Rodrigues Neto, partner at Tortoro, Madureira & Ragazzi Advogados.

    Resolution No. 96, published on May 19, 2021, aims to align the postpaid and prepaid payment accounts with the regulation on current accounts.

    The Central Bank of Brazil published yesterday (May 19) the Resolution BCB No. 96, with the purpose of simplifying and consolidating in a single normative act, the rules applicable to credit card contracts (the so-called postpaid payment accounts) and prepaid payment accounts.

    According to the Resolution, the new rule eliminates, for example, the requirement for institutions to follow the exhaustive list of minimum customer registration information for opening payment accounts, both prepaid and postpaid. Therefore, each institution is responsible for defining the criteria, according to the profile of each client.

    In addition, it provides for new procedures to facilitate the requests for closing these types of accounts, making it clear the purpose of aligning the rules for payment accounts with the rules for deposit accounts (current accounts), for opening, closing, and also the transparency in the relationship between institutions and customers.

    Other measures are equally relevant, such as the revision of the elements that should be included in credit card (postpaid) invoices, with the inclusion of the need to indicate a total consolidated balance of already-contracted future obligations, such as installments purchases, credit operations, and rates, in addition to defining the minimum provisions that must be obligatorily included in the contracts.

    Similarly, the financial institutions will be required to submit or to make available to the cardholder, by physical or electronic means, the credit card and the respective statements and invoices, as defined by the consumer (form and channel) among the options offered by the institution.

    As clarified by the BC’s Regulation Director, Otávio Damaso: “The main reason is the alignment of the rules of postpaid and prepaid payment accounts with those of the deposit account (current account), as provided for in CMN Resolution No. 4,753, of 2019”. In addition, the new Resolution conforms to Decree No. 10.139 of 2019, which provides for regulatory consolidation¹.

    The importance of Regulation

    The use of electronic means of payments in the country has shown unprecedented rates. According to the study carried out by BC, the retail card payment statistics (Estatísticas de pagamento de varejo de cartões) show that the total number of issued and active cards continues to grow: in December 2019 there were 221.5 million and 112.8 million cards, respectively.

    In the same vein, the report presented by the Brazilian Association of Credit Card and Service Companies (ABECS) for the first half of 2021, credit cards accounted for 3.1 billion transactions, which represents an increase of 6.4% over the same period of the previous year. As for prepaid cards, they accounted for 395 million transactions (an increase of 163.5%).

    Another point that deserves to be highlighted in BCB Resolution No. 96 is the fact that it also takes into consideration the digitalization of payment methods, following the guidelines of the Central Bank itself through the so-called BC# Agenda, so that, as such, the Resolution does not become an obstacle to the emergence of new innovative financial services and, most importantly, that they can meet the needs of all citizens.

    The Resolution, which is not applicable to payment accounts held exclusively for the contribution of funds related to social benefit programs established at the federal, state, district and municipal levels, will come into force on March 1, 2022. Until then, the financial institutions must adapt themselves to the new rules for the acquisition of credit cards and prepaid payment accounts, encouraging the digitalization of the payment methods and, consequently, the emergence of new financial services based on technological innovation.

    Resolution BCB No. 96/2021:


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