The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has temporarily suspended a rule requiring credit card companies to submit their consumer agreements to the Bureau each quarter.
During the one-year period that the requirement is being lifted, the CFPB will work to make the submission process easier and user-friendlier. “Updating and streamlining the process for how credit card companies submit their agreements to us can benefit industry and our agency,” explained Richard Cordray, director of the CFPB. “Improving this process can also enable consumers and others to access the data faster and in a more useable form.”
The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure (CARD) Act, passed in 2009, required credit card companies to submit their consumer agreements to the CFPB four times a year, as well as posting them on their own websites. The requirement to post consumer agreements to their websites will remain in place.
Agreements database to be automated
Consumer agreements include things like fee schedules, terms and conditions, pricing, and other general information relevant to cardholders. The CFPB collects these agreements and posts them in a public database for easy consumer access; they currently post agreements from almost 450 card issuers.
Right now, credit card issuers must enter their agreements to the CFPB database manually. The CFPB’s goal is for the new submission system to be fully automated, allowing companies to upload the agreements more easily, and the CFPB to post them more quickly. During the process of designing the updated system, the CFPB will look at different formats for reporting the information in hopes of making the database easier for consumers to access and understand.
Credit card agreements vary from card to card, and understanding them is vital for consumers. The CFPB database aims to help folks find the credit card that works best for their needs, with manageable fees and fair terms and conditions.
Reporting requirements will resume in Spring 2016
Credit card issuers can skip their regularly required consumer agreement submissions on April 30, July 31, and October 31, 2015, as well as January 31, 2016. They will once again be required to submit consumer agreements to the CFPB beginning April 30, 2016—hopefully using the new automated system.
During the one-year suspension, the CFPB will continue to collect agreements via public websites and post them to their database. The full text of this ruling is available at http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201504_cfpb_final-rule_credit-card-collection-suspension.pdf