Consumer advocates have asked that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) take an even harder line with credit card issuers. At a field hearing in Chicago after the watchdog released its study on the impact of card regulations over the last four years, advocates urged the regulator not to leave its scrutiny at simply sneaky rate hikes and fees but to delve deeper into legal disclosures.
CFPB director Richard Cordray said his agency will look into some card problems that were not entirely addressed by the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, such as issuers that push consumers into add-on products like identity theft protection; fees charged before an account is opened; 0 percent teaser rates; and disclosures of online statements and grace periods. The CFPB's study on the Card Act concluded that the overall cost of credit has fallen by two percentage points since 2008 and that disclosures have become easier to understand. "Our report found that the number of credit card holders under 21 has been cut in half in recent years," Cordray added. "This decrease, which contributes to the decline in available credit, is an intended consequence of the CARD Act and is good news in promoting responsible access to credit."