On January 9, SB 1146, entitled the Earned Wage Access Services Act, was introduced into the Florida Senate. The bill would require earned wage access (EWA) providers to register with the Florida Financial Services Commission. The bill also requires EWA providers to develop procedures for dealing with consumer questions and complaints, requires consumer notifications, and requires providers to offer at least one reasonable option for consumers to get EWA proceeds at no cost. Like Nevada, discussed here, the law specifies that EWA products are not loans (including not being subject to the Consumer Finance Act), nor is such activity considered money transmission under Florida law. SB 1146 has been referred to the banking and insurance committee for consideration. If passed, the law would take effect on October 1, 2024.
The law applies to both direct-to-consumer EWA services and employer-integrated EWA services, but in either case the amount being provided to the consumer must be earned by the consumer at the time of the advance.
The bill would require a provider to:
- Disclose all fees associated with the EWA product.
- Allow the consumer to cancel the EWA service at any time, without incurring a fee or penalty.
- If the consumer has initiated an advance, the provider may require the effective date of cancellation to be after the consumer has satisfied any repayment obligations.
- Disclose, both in the contract and immediately before each transaction, that tips and gratuities are voluntary and that the offering of EWA services is not contingent on a tip.
- Provide proceeds to a consumer by any mutually agreed-upon means.
- Comply with applicable provisions of the federal Electronic Fund Transfer Act.
- Reimburse the consumer for any overdraft or nonsufficient funds fees caused by the provider attempting to seek payment on a date before, or in an incorrect amount from, the date or amount disclosed to the consumer.
The bill also prohibits providers from:
- Sharing with a consumer’s employer any fees or tips received from or charged to a consumer.
- Reporting a consumer’s nonpayment to a consumer reporting agency or debt collector.
- Using credit reports or credit scores to determine a consumer’s eligibility for EWA services.
- Imposing late fees, deferral fees, or any other penalty, fee, or interest for failure to pay any outstanding proceeds, fees, or tips.
- Accepting payment from a consumer via credit card.
- Compelling a consumer to repay by filing a suit against the consumer, using a third-party collection agency, or selling outstanding amounts to a third-party collector.
- This prohibition does not preclude a provider from using any of the above methods to compel payment of outstanding amounts or fees obtained by a consumer through fraud nor does it preclude a provider from pursuing an employer for breach of contract.
Additionally, when registering, EWA providers would be required to submit the following information:
- Name, mailing address, and business locations.
- Names and addresses of its partners, members, or directors and key officers, and the Florida agent of the corporation.
- Whether it is a domestic or foreign corporation, its state and date of incorporation, its charter number, and, for foreign corporations, the date it registered with the Department of State.
Current EWA providers in Florida would have 6 months after the effective date to continue to engage in such business without registering, as long as the provider has submitted a registration application and otherwise complies with the Act.