Consumer protection rule targeted by Perdue would benefit campaign donor

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U.S. Sen. David Perdue. Hyosub Shin/AJC

Special legislation being fast-tracked by U.S. Sen. David Perdue would take a swipe at a federal agency championed by U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren while also aiding a Georgia company that has donated to his campaign.

The first-term Republican senator recently used a procedural maneuver to try to speed up passage of a bill that would nullify an Obama-era prepaid credit card regulation before it goes into effect.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rule that Perdue is targeting would require companies that offer prepaid credit cards to disclose to consumers up front their various fees. It also seeks to limit overdraft fees, give consumers easier access to account information such as balances and transaction history, and cut down on consumer losses when cards are lost or stolen.

Proponents say the change would extend basic account protections to tens of millions of predominantly low- and middle-income customers, some of whom use the cards in lieu of traditional checking accounts.

Perdue and his allies say the regulation overreaches and would end up raising prices and limiting options for customers while stifling innovation in the financial technology industry.

Consumers currently pay tens of millions annually in overdraft charges on such prepaid credit cards. Much of that money goes to one Georgia firm, Netspend, whose parent company is the Columbus-based Total System Services.

Perdue has received $17,500 in campaign donations from Total System Services’ political action committee since the 2014 election cycle. He also accepted a similar amount from the company’s current and former top executives in the runup to his election, according to the money-in-politics site Open Secrets.

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