Legal challenges and new credit card products were just some of the noteworthy developments of 2012. Below is a recap of our coverage, including some stories that we’ll keep our eye on for new developments in the coming year.
Consumer advocacy and courts
- Consumers who are unhappy with their credit card issuers were given a new forum to air their complaints when the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) unveiled the Consumer Complaint Database in June. The site came out of its beta mode in October.
- American Express was ordered to pay $85 million in refunds to customers who were charged fees illegally, didn’t get sign-on bonuses they felt were promised, and paid debts that weren’t reported as forgiven.
- An antitrust lawsuit that’s dragged on for over seven years could finally be coming to a close, after a $7.2 billion settlement offer by MasterCard and Visa was given preliminary approval in November. The lawsuit was brought by merchants and retail groups over swipe fees that they felt were impacting profit margins heavily.
New cards in the market
- Walmart and American Express entered the prepaid card market with Bluebird, a no-fee prepaid card touted as an alternative to fee-laden checking accounts. The card debuted in October with a host of mobile capabilities and the promise of more features to come.
- Frequent flyers on Southwest and AirTran were in luck when Chase partnered with the bargain airlines to offer a travel rewards credit card. The AirTran A+ Rewards Credit Card from Chase was introduced in October and gives cardholders the chance to earn free flights and business class upgrades to more than 95 destinations.
- The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group and U.S. Bank introduced a new hotel rewards card, offering a whopping 85,000 point sign-on bonus to entice potential cardholders. Carlson Rezidor properties include Radisson, Park Plaza, Park Inn, and Country Inns & Suites.
Check in at creditland.com daily in the new year to keep up to speed on developments on credit cards and the banks that issue them. Happy New Year!