CFPB report reveals high credit card costs, growing debt, and digital shifts led to consumers’ revolving debts in 2022
On October 25, the CFPB released a report on credit card interest rates and fees in 2022 highlighting the impact of the cost to consumers. The report found that credit card companies charged consumers more than $105 billion in interest and $25 billion in fees, with the bulk of the fees being late fees.
According to the 175-page report, consumers are rolling balances month-to-month, falling into debt, while credit card companies’ profit margins remain high. The CFPB highlighted additional trends, including how (i) the profits of major credit card companies have increased, surpassing pre-pandemic levels, which could indicate a lack of competition in the industry, with a few dominant players; (ii) Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) for credit cards continue to rise above the cost of offering credit (meaning cardholders are paying more in interest); (iii) many cardholders with subprime credit scores paid a significant percentage of their average balance in interest and fees; (iv) late fees charged to cardholders have risen to pre-pandemic levels, and more consumers are delinquent; (v) credit card debt reached a record $1 trillion by the end of 2022, and annual spending on credit cards increased, returning to pre-pandemic levels; and (vi) consumers who roll debt from month to month are paying a significant portion of interest and fees but earning only a small percentage of rewards. The report also notes a rise in digital communication—around 80 percent of cardholders, especially those under 65, use mobile apps for card management, which exhibits a shift in how consumers and financial institutions interact in the credit card industry.