June 20, 2012

The Credit Card Act

The Credit Card Act was signed into law in 2009 under President Barack Obama. The act set up several provisions aimed at limiting how credit card companies can charge consumers. In July 2011, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) opened as a part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

The Card Act helped curb the practices that made banks wealthy and consumers were going to be satisfied. But when it was put into practice, there were still complaints. Especially from stay-at-home moms and dads; under the current provisions, they cannot obtain a credit card because creditors only take individual income into consideration, not household income. Complaints such as these needed a venue to be expressed and Tuesday, the CFPB unveiled its online credit card complaint database for all consumers.

“By making our data publicly available, initially in the area of credit cards, we hope to improve the transparency and efficiency of this essential consumer market,” Richard Cordray, director of the CFPB, said in a statement.

How the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Works

The function of the bureau is to acquire all consumer complaints and create new regulations from the information gathered. Complaints received are put in categories and from there, companies can respond to a consumer in one of four ways. Consumers can expect to receive a refund, an explanation, a correction or change in account terms, or have the case closed. Companies have up to 15 days to respond and a total of 60 days to close a complaint.

With this new database, complaints made are now viewable by everyone. According to the Government Executive website, the bureau received 45,630 complaints between July 21, 2011, and June 1, 2012. With this new information readily available, consumers can view which companies to steer clear of.

Shame on Capital One

Currently, the bank topping the list with the most complaints is Capital One. This move by the CFPB could lead credit card companies to change their policies, benefitting consumers. The next step will be to see the new regulations added to the Credit Card Act in response to complaints received.

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