Compliance Q&A: CAN-SPAM Rules

Monthly online statement alerts don't fall under these guidelines.

September 1, 2015

Q: Our credit union sends a monthly email to alert members when they can view their statements online. Is this email covered by the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) CAN-SPAM rules?

A: These e-statement alerts aren’t covered by the CAN-SPAM Act (Controlling the Assault of Nonsolicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003) or the FTC’s rules.

The CAN-SPAM Act covers commercial email messages and requires them to:

  • Clearly and conspicuously indicate the message is an advertisement or solicitation.
  • Provide recipients with an opportunity to opt out from receiving additional commercial email messages from the same entity.
  • Provide a physical postal address of the sender. Email messages with “transactional or relationship” content aren’t considered commercial emails and, therefore, aren’t subject to CAN-SPAM Act requirements. FTC regulations specifically exclude from coverage email messages that communicate, “at regular periodic intervals, account balance information or other type of account statement.”

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