New CFPB Report Shows That the Credit CARD Act Works

Release Date: 
October 3, 2013

Demos applauds the release of a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) report that underscored the continuing success of the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 (CARD Act). The CFPB found that, as a result of the Act:

  • Late fees must be be reasonable and proportional to the violation of account terms, a rule resulting in a $1.5 billion decrease in fees in 2012.
  • Overlimit fee for transactions that put cardholders over their credit limit, saving $2.5 billion in overlimit fees since 2008.
  • Americans under the age of 21 can only get a credit card if they demonstrate an independent ability to repay the debt or they have a cosigner over 21. As a result, the percentage of young adults ages 18-20 that have a credit card account has dropped by half.

The Credit CARD Act, and the work of the CFPB, shows the huge impact smart public policy can have on the kitchen table concerns of most Americans.

Our report released last year, the Plastic Safety Net, was the first national survey of low and middle-income households credit card debt. It showed how the CARD Act increased the transparency of credit card statements and dramatically reduced unfair and excessive fees and penalties. Demos submitted the survey’s findings in a formal comment to the CFPB for their report.

“While the new CFPB numbers show that the Credit CARD Act has been a huge success, the problems behind Americans’ reliance on credit cards remain: stagnant or declining incomes, the rising cost of basic needs and an inadequate public safety net to help families through hard times.

"The Credit CARD Act, and the work of the CFPB, shows the huge impact smart public policy can have on the kitchen table concerns of most Americans. By mandating credit card companies earn their profits without tricks and traps, we’ve put hard-earned money back in the pocketbooks of working and middle class households.” — Tamara Draut, V.P., Policy and Research

Demos experts Tamara Draut or Senior Policy Analyst Amy Traub are available to discuss the implications of the Credit CARD Act and the reforms we still need.

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