Credit Card Add-on Products

Credit Card Add-on Products in the United States


Credit card issuers market various “add-on” products to card users, including debt protection, identity theft protection, credit score tracking, and other products that are supplementary to the credit provided by the card itself.

Dodd-Frank Act

Under the Dodd-Frank Act, it is unlawful for any provider of consumer financial products or services or a service provider to engage in any deceptive act or practice (2 12 U.S.C. §§ 5531(a), 5536(a)(1)(B).

It is also unlawful for “any person to knowingly or recklessly provide substantial assistance to a covered person or service provider” in violation of the prohibitions against deceptive practices (12 U.S.C. § 5536(a)(3).

As a general matter, a representation, omission, act, or practice is deceptive if:

  • The representation, omission, act, or practice misleads or is likely to mislead the consumer;
  • The consumer’s interpretation of the representation, omission, act, or practice is reasonable under the circumstances; and
  • The misleading representation, omission, act, or practice is material.

Truth in Lending Act (“TILA”)

Regulation Z implements the Truth in Lending Act. With respect to open end credit, Regulation Z contains rules on account-opening disclosures and periodic statements, and also sets forth special rules that apply to credit card transactions, treatment of payments and credit balances, procedures for resolving credit billing errors, annual percentage rate calculations, and advertising (See 12 C.F.R. §§ 1026.5 through 1026.16; see also 12 C.F.R. § 1026.4(d)).

Regulation Z also includes rules that apply to credit and charge card application and solicitation disclosures ( See 12 C.F.R. §§ 1026.51-1026.60). Institutions must comply with all requirements of Regulation Z, including when disclosing any fees or charges for debt cancellation and debt suspension plans (See, e.g., 12 C.F.R. §§ 1026.6(b) and 1026.60(b)).

Equal Credit Opportunity Act (“ECOA”)

Under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and its implementing regulation, Regulation B, creditors may not discriminate against an applicant in any aspect of a credit transaction on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, or age (provided the applicant has the capacity to contract). The Equal Credit Opportunity Act and Regulation B also provide that a creditor may not discriminate based on the fact that all or part of an applicant’s income derives
from a public assistance program, or the fact that an applicant has in good faith exercised any right under the Consumer Credit Protection Act (See 12 C.F.R. § 1002.4).

The Equal Credit Opportunity Act and Regulation B apply to credit-card applicants. As such, fair lending concerns may arise based on differential treatment on a prohibited basis in connection with add-on products—including, for example, requiring applicants based on their race or age to purchase credit card add-on products as a condition of obtaining credit.

Credit Card Add-on Products: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Credit Card Add-on Products. This part provides references, in relation to Credit Card Add-on Products, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Credit Card Add-on Products by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Credit Card Add-on Products and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Credit Card Add-on Products or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Credit Card Add-on Products and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Credit Card Add-on Products. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Credit Card Add-on Products should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Credit Card Add-on Products when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

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