The Right to Financial Privacy Act (The Act) prohibits Government authorities from gaining access to, obtaining copies of, or the information contained in the financial records of any customer from a financial institution unless access is permitted by one of the exceptions to the Act, such as a grand jury subpoena, or is accomplished by one of the methods provided by the Act: (1) customer authorization; (2) administrative summons or subpoena; (3) search warrant; (4) judicial subpoena; or (5) a formal written request. Each of the five methods requires the financial records sought to be reasonably described. The Act requires documentation of access to protected financial records; "informal access" (i.e. an oral request) to protected records is not permitted.
It is important to note that only a narrow class of records are covered by the Act. See Records Covered.