For the first time, consumers are being asked their opinion about credit cards by a government agency. The newly established Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is designed to assist Americans in dealing with personal financial matters. The first issue to be dealt with is credit cards. More than 5,000 complaints were filed by consumers in the first three months of the projects initiation. From billing errors to issues with identity theft, perhaps you’ll agree with the most popular consumer credit card complaints listed below:
1.) Billing Disputes & Errors
Over 13% of the complaints reported were about billing disputes. According to the CFPB, the communications between consumers and their financial institutions is less than ideal. More often than not, consumers don’t have an adequate grasp of their account agreement, leading to possible unsubstantiated complaints. In addition, the complicated process of resolving errors can be daunting, leaving many feeling angry and powerless.
2.) Annual Percentage Rates (APR)
Coming in second on the list of complaints is the interest rate charged for the privilege of borrowing. It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that consumers feel rates are too high. And they’re right, while federal interest rates are at all-time lows, the average credit card interest rate reached 14.7% earlier this year — the highest since 2001, according to research firm Synovate. Financial experts also suggest that part of the problem is that consumers are hazy about how interest rates apply to their purchases and the overall cost of using credit.
3.) Identity Theft / Fraud
Perhaps the most dreaded situation a consumer could find themselves in is to have their identity stolen. And with one in ten Americans estimated to be a victim of identity theft at some point in their lives, it’s not surprising that this complaint came in third. It’s important to remember the complaints in this category were about how the issue was handled, and not the crime itself.
4.) Undefined (Other) Complaints
So many consumer concerns fell outside the expected range that the ‘other’ category was the fourth most common complaint. These reports often dealt with poor communication specific to a particular bank or a circumstance that was not covered by the standard complaint list.
5.) Unsolicited Issuance of Credit Card
Nothing is more frustrating than being issued a credit card that you don’t want. Although many of these complaints were probably over mailings that appeared to be issuing cards, and not actual credit cards being issued, it’s obvious that consumers don’t take kindly to unsolicited offers.
6.) Account Cancellations
Being notified of an account cancellation may come as a surprise, especially if there’s no apparent reason. In recent years, with a less than stellar economic climate, credit limits for many consumers were reduced and accounts closed by banks in an attempt to better manage their credit balances. Credit card companies have never made it easy to close an account and many consumers are confused by the process. On top of that the impact closing an account is not clearly understood.
If you have a problem with your credit card company, consumers are asked to contact the issuer first to allow the company the opportunity to resolve the dispute. If there is no resolution, the CFPB will investigate the complaint to determine if any consumer protection laws were violated and if enforcement action is needed. If you’d like to have a complaint added to the agency list, file online or by phone at 1.855.411.2372. Your complaint will be assigned a tracking number to log in to check the status of your complaint.