Alert October 15, 2013

CFPB Releases Report on Impact of CARD Act

The CFPB releasedreport on the findings of its first major study on the impact of the Credit Card Accountability and Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009. The CARD Act prohibits credit card issuers from extending credit without assessing the consumer’s ability to pay and restricts the amount of upfront fees that may be charged during the first year after account opening, among other things. The report makes findings in five distinct areas: (1) cost of credit; (2) availability of credit; (3) agreements, disclosures and issuer practices; (4) product innovation; and (5) adequacy of protections. For example, the CFPB found that the CARD Act has impacted the way consumers pay for credit in the credit card marketplace. In particular, the CFPB found that over-the-limit fees and repricing actions have largely been eliminated. The report also identified the CFPB’s remaining concerns, which largely include add-on products, fee harvestor cards—cards in which the fee is paid prior to account opening, deferred interest products, and transparency issues such as online disclosures, rewards products and grace periods.