CFPB Highlights Credit Card Complaints in Fourth Monthly Complaint Report

CFPB Highlights Credit Card Complaints in Fourth Monthly Complaint Report

 by Barbara S. Mishkin

The CFPB has issued its October 2015 complaint report, the fourth in its new series of monthly complaint reports.  The new report highlights credit card complaints and complaints from consumers in the Chicago, Illinois metro area.

General findings include the following:

  • • As of October 1, 2015, the CFPB handled approximately 726,000 complaints nationally, including approximately 23,400 complaints in September 2015.  For September 2015, debt collection was the most-complained-about financial product or service, representing about 29 percent of complaints submitted.  (The CFPB stated that this was the 25thconsecutive month in which it handled more complaints about debt collection than about any other type of complaint.)  Debt collection complaints, together with complaints about credit reporting and mortgages, collectively represented about 70 percent of complaints submitted in September 2015.
  • • Complaints about prepaid cards showed the greatest percentage increase, increasing about 45 percent from the same time last year (July to September 2014 compared with July to September 2015).  (In its Spring 2015 rulemaking agenda, the CFPB indicated that it expected to issue a final prepaid card rule in January 2016.)
  • • Payday loan complaints showed the greatest percentage decrease, decreasing 24 percent from the same time last year (July to September 2014 compared with July to September 2015).  Complaints during those periods decreased from 607 complaints in 2014 to 460 complaints in 2015.
  • • Idaho, Nebraska and Arkansas experienced the greatest complaint volume increases from the same time last year (July to September 2014 compared with July to September 2015).  The volume of complaints from Idaho, Nebraska and Arkansas increased by, respectively, 59, 44 and 43 percent.  The states with the greatest complaint volume decreases from the same time last year (July to September 2014 compared with July to September 2015) were Delaware, Alaska and New Mexico, with decreases of, respectively, 10, 9 and 5 percent.

Findings regarding credit card complaints include the following:

  • • As of October 1, 2015, the CFPB handled approximately 79,500 credit card complaints, representing about 11 percent of total complaints.
  • • Confusion over how late fees are assessed was the primary issue raised in many complaints.  Such complaints included claims that issuers had not made clear that payments received after a certain cut-off time would be posted the next day and considered late.
  • • Other issues raised in complaints included confusion about deferred interest programs, inability to allocate payments where the consumer has multiple deferred billing promotions or  low rate balances with different expiration dates, lack of clear information about challenging inaccuracies on billing statements, and account closings without the consumer’s knowledge or consent.

Findings regarding complaints from consumers in Chicago include the following:

  • • As of October 1, 2015, approximately 21,100 complaints were submitted by Chicago consumers.
  • • Mortgages were the most-complained-about product, with mortgage-related complaints representing 27 percent of the complaints submitted by Chicago consumers.
  • • Debt collection and credit reporting were, respectively, the second and third most-complained-about financial products in the Chicago metro area.

 Read additional articles at Ballard Spahr’s CFPB Monitor

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