Government makes credit card complaints public

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau launched an online database of complaints about credit cards at

For the first time, everyone can glance at what people are complaining about, and how banks are responding.

The database allows people to see how many complaints are being filed against any bank that issues credit cards and the type of the complaints (billing, interest rates, rewards, etc.). It shows whether complaints are solved and if the bank made a timely response.

The CFPB is the first agency with a public website, the aim of which is to track complaints about consumer financial products. With help of the database the agency will be able to identify potential problems in the marketplace, such as a new card that has hidden or partially disclosed fees. It also wants consumers to use the information to research financial products they might use.

The database does not include personal information. The agency just hopes to improve the transparency and efficiency of this essential consumer market.

The credit card database includes information on complaints received by the agency since June 1, and only includes credit card complaints against large banks that fall under the bureau’s jurisdiction. The agency expects to add retroactive data later this year. In future, in addition to credit cards, the agency will add the complaints about mortgages, bank accounts and student loans.

As you’d expect, banks aren’t happy that the government is publishing complaints about them. They try, and surely will continue trying, to object the existence of such shoutbox on their way.

If you are thinking about opening a new credit card account, check the database. But don’t base your decision on it alone. Find a card with interest rates, credit limit, and other terms and conditions that suit you.

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