U.S. Consumer Bureau to Publish Data on Credit-Card Complaints

The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposed publishing data on consumer complaints about credit cards, including the names of firms that issued the cards.

Under the proposal released today, the bureau would exclude personal data of complainants but release information on the type of complaint, the issuer involved, the date of the complaint and the Zip code of the consumer. The agency will also publish “periodic reports about trends and patterns in complaint data,” according to the proposal.

“The CFPB anticipates that if it disclosed credit-card complaint data, those who would be most likely to mine the data for trends and patterns and to publish their conclusions would be academics and groups dedicated to empowering consumers in making well-informed decisions,” the agency wrote in the proposal.

The publication could affect card issuers including JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Bank of America Corp. (BAC) and Capital One Financial Corp. (COF) These firms worked with the bureau beginning early this year to set up the consumer response system.

Even before the agency’s system began taking complaints about credit cards on July 21, industry groups including the American Bankers association were pushing to keep data confidential, arguing that publication would allow frivolous complaints to damage reputable brands. Consumer groups argued that many firms, such as Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), publish unedited consumer complaints with no apparent harm.

“When consumers contact us, we get a snapshot of how the consumer finance markets are working,” Raj Date, adviser to the Treasury secretary for the consumer bureau, said in an e-mailed statement. “And we are learning that there is a lot of consumer confusion about credit card terms.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Carter Dougherty in Washington at cdougherty6@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lawrence Roberts at lroberts13@bloomberg.net.

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.