Netspend has agreed to provide $53 million in monetary relief in a settlement of allegations brought by the Federal Trade Commission.
The settlement resolves charges that the prepaid card issuer, a division of Total System Services, deceived consumers in its advertising. Ads for Netspend’s prepaid cards featured claims that getting approved was easy, and funds would be available right away.
Prepaid card companies are required to verify customers’ identities before making funds available to them, which can result in delays. In a November 2016 lawsuit the FTC alleged that many Netspend customers were unable to access their funds for long periods of time.
Under the settlement, announced Friday, Netspend agreed to comply with certain standards regarding its advertising material.
Netspend said in a press release that it refunded $13 million in fees charged prior to Aug. 31, 2016. The firm also vowed to work with customers who purchased cards but never took the steps necessary to activate them. Those funds total approximately $40 million.
Netspend did not admit wrongdoing as part of the settlement.
“Netspend is pleased to have resolved this matter. We agreed to settle in order to avoid the significant costs associated with protracted litigation and to get back to the business of serving our customers,” the company said in the press release. “We do a great deal to encourage card activation and comply with federal law, and we welcome this opportunity to assist those who have not activated their accounts.”
The FTC approved the settlement by a 2-1 vote. Acting FTC Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen, who voted against filing the lawsuit, also dissented from the settlement.