Report: U.S. cost of credit card fees and interest payments decline

The CFPB released a statement, explaining the report

The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 (CARD Act) was designed to reduce penalty fees and make the costs of credit cards clearer to consumers. A recent report released by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) said that the total cost of credit declined by two percentage points between 2008 and 2012.

Additionally, the CFPB estimates that the average late fee went down by $6 after the CARD Act took effect. In total, that resulted in a $1.5 billion decrease in late fees paid by consumers in 2012.

The CFPB released a statement, explaining the report.

“Credit cards play a valuable role in the everyday lives of American consumers,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said. “The CARD Act brought better consumer protections and fairness to the marketplace, but we found there is more work to be done.”

The Washington Post quoted Cordray from a hearing held in Chicago on the matter. The director explained that CARD eliminated many unfair fees, made some market practices more transparent and paved the way for easier comparison shopping. However, even though consumers were given a market where they could see upfront costs, there is still work that needs to be done.

For example, the Post said that regulators are still looking into whether credit card companies treat consumers fairly when they advertise extras. This would include identity theft protection and credit monitoring.

With regulations like this in place, more consumers could start to consider new credit options or even look into refinancing their home or cars. Financial organizations should be prepared for a potential influx of clients. Having current credit application software in place will ensure that creditworthy borrowers are found and are given payment options well-within their means.

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