CARD Act Fight to Offer Clues to Future CFPB Regs
January 23, 2013
Three years after implementation of the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act (the CARD Act), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) must determine whether or not the law has helped the public. While consumer advocates argued that it would increase transparency and fairness in the card market, critics in the industry said it would make credit more elusive as well as more expensive. The CFPB is now taking comments on the law's impact and examining a variety of claims, including studies with conflicting results. If the CARD Act is found to have increased costs and reduced credit availability, it would undermine arguments for price restrictions. If consumers are found to have benefited, on the other hand, consumer advocates may be encouraged to pursue further restrictions on card pricing. In general, however, it is agreed that the law successfully reduced the specific fees that it targeted, such as over-limit penalties and late charges. And while data from the Federal Reserve Board shows that revolving consumer credit outstanding shrank from $1.01 trillion in 2008 to $858 billion in November 2012, much of this occurred before the CARD Act took effect and likely is an effect of the recession.
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