A contractual commitment agreement, for example, that under applicable law binds the consumer to the credit terms would be consummation

1. State law governs. When a contractual obligation on the consumer’s part is created is a matter to be determined under applicable law; Regulation Z does not make this determination. Consummation, however, does not occur merely because the consumer has made some financial investment in the transaction (for example, by paying a nonrefundable fee) unless, of course, applicable law holds otherwise.

2. Credit v. sale. Consummation does not occur when the consumer becomes contractually committed to a sale transaction, unless the consumer also becomes legally obligated to accept a particular credit arrangement. For example, when a consumer pays a nonrefundable deposit to purchase an automobile, a purchase contract may be created, but consummation for purposes of the regulation does not occur unless the consumer also contracts for financing at that time.

However, third-party financing of such obligations (for example, a bank loan obtained to pay off a tax lien) is credit for purposes of the regulation

i. Layaway plans, unless the consumer is contractually obligated to continue making payments. Whether the consumer is so obligated is a matter to be determined under applicable law. The fact that the consumer is not entitled to a refund of any amounts paid towards the cash price of the merchandise does not bring layaways within the definition of credit.

iii. Insurance premium plans that involve payment in installments with each installment representing the payment for insurance coverage for a certain future period of time, unless the consumer is contractually obligated to continue making payments.

iv. Home improvement transactions that involve progress payments, if the consumer pays, as the work progresses, only for work completed and has no contractual obligation to continue making payments.

v. Borrowing against the accrued cash value of an insurance policy or a pension account, if there is no independent obligation to repay.

vii. The execution of option contracts. However, there may be an extension of credit when the option is exercised, if there is an agreement at that time to defer payment of a debt.

Payday loans; deferred presentment

viii. Investment plans in which the party extending capital to the consumer risks the loss of the capital advanced. This includes, for example, an arrangement with a home purchaser in which the investor pays a portion of the downpayment and of the periodic mortgage payments in return for an ownership interest in the property, and shares in any gain or loss of property value.

ix. Mortgage assistance plans administered by a government agency in which a portion of the consumer’s monthly payment amount is paid by the agency. No finance charge is imposed on the subsidy amount, and that amount is due in a lump-sum payment on a set date or upon the occurrence of certain events. (If payment is not made when due, a new note imposing a finance charge may be written, which may then be subject to the regulation.)

2. Credit includes a transaction in which a cash advance is made to a consumer in exchange for the consumer’s personal check, or in exchange for the consumer’s authorization to debit the consumer’s deposit account, and where the parties agree either that the check will not be cashed or deposited, or that the consumer’s deposit account will not be debited, until a designated future date. This type of transaction is often referred to as a “payday loan” or “payday advance” or “deferred-presentment loan.” A fee charged in connection with such a transaction may be a finance charge for purposes of § 1026.4, regardless of how the fee is characterized under state law. Where the fee charged constitutes a finance charge under § 1026.4 and the person advancing funds regularly extends consumer credit, that person is a creditor and is required to provide disclosures consistent with the requirements of Regulation Z. (See § 1026.2(a)(17).)

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