CFPB Signals Intention to Scrutinize Credit Card Fees, Practices

In a new blog post this week, the CFPB said it is “looking to use a long-dormant authority” under Dodd-Frank Act Section 1033, which relates to consumer access to financial records, “to help spur better credit card shopping and switching by proposing rules that give consumers more control of their financial data.” The bureau noted that it plans to focus on uncovering “unfair, anticompetitive practices,” making it simpler for consumers to compare, switch or refinance their credit card and scrutinizing fees associated with credit card offerings.

Consumers paid roughly $117 billion in interest and fees in 2020, according to the blog post. That figure was down from $128 billion in 2019 and $119 billion in 2018. The CFPB also acknowledged in a previous report issued during former Acting Director Dave Uejio’s tenure that “credit cards played a vital role” to consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As the CFPB blog post points out, over 175 million consumers have at least one credit card. Each and every one of those consumers chose to open a credit card account because of the safety, convenience and significant benefits that come with today’s credit cards,” said an American Bankers Association spokesperson after the blog post was published. “Thanks to the vast array of financial service offerings in this country, each of those consumers had a wide range of credit card options to choose from. We firmly believe, and surveys show, that the vast majority of credit card users in this country, including the millions of Americans who received relief from their issuers during the pandemic as noted by the CFPB in its 2021 Consumer Credit Card Market Report, value and appreciate their credit cards and the customer service that comes with them.”