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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

CFPB releases consumer credit card report

Federal Issues CFPB Credit Cards CARD Act Consumer Finance

Federal Issues

On September 29, the CFPB released its fifth biennial report on the state of the credit card market as required by Section 502 of the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act. The 2021 report covers the credit card market for the 2019-2020 period, and revisits similar baseline indicators and in-depth topics to examine market changes and track market developments and trends. Specifically, the report updates the deferred interest analysis last conducted in the 2017 Report. The report also analyzes the latest research on consumer card use, cost, and availability, among other things, finding that “[f]rom a 2019 peak of $926 billion, credit card debt fell to $811 billion by the second quarter of 2020, the largest six-month decline on record, before reaching $825 billion by the end of the year.” The report also highlights indicators related to consumer credit card activity during the pandemic, including (i) more than 25 million consumer credit card accounts represented approximately $68 billion in outstanding credit card debt entered relief programs in 2020; (ii) application volume for credit cards sharply declined in 2020 from its peak in 2019; (iii) late payment and default rates were at a historic low; (iv) consumers with below prime scores saw the greatest constriction in available credit card line; and (v) digital engagement is increasing across all age groups.

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