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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

CFPB announces plans to modernize credit card data collection

Federal Issues CFPB Credit Cards Consumer Finance Federal Register

Federal Issues

On August 19, the CFPB published a blog post announcing plans to update how credit card data is collected. Current methods for collecting and publishing credit card data make it challenging for consumers to shop for credit cards or compare interest rates, the Bureau said, explaining for example that “card issuers do not have to disclose realistic rates based on someone’s creditworthiness and instead report the midpoints of broad ranges that are often meaningless to people trying to compare cards.” The Bureau said it hopes to address the lack of transparency in credit card terms and conditions to spur competition and to give consumers power to choose the best credit card for their needs. 

The Bureau explained that twice a year, at least 150 issuers send the agency information on their largest credit card plans, including data on interest rates and fees through the Terms of Credit Card Plans (TCCP) Survey. To update this process, the Bureau announced it is considering modernizing the survey to make it a more useful resource on credit card price and availability for consumers. Potential changes include: (i) collecting median APR rates by credit score tiers; (ii) gathering information on credit cards available to specific communities or groups to help expand access; (iii) requiring the top 25 credit card issuers to submit data on each of their general purpose credit cards (currently these issuers only submit information on their product with the largest number of accounts); and (iv) enabling a broader range of institutions to volunteer to participate in the survey. Comments on the proposed changes, which were published in the Federal Register, are due October 17.

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