The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) keeps a database of credit cards that consumers can access online. You can access it here, and get to compare all the fees and costs from major credit card providers.
Every 6 months the CFPB updates the data every 6 months with a survey on credit card terms. It sends this survey out to the largest 25 issuers and from a sample of at least 125 additional issuers.
That is what the CFPB just announced today - its latest semiannual survey on terms: "CFPB Enhances Tool to Promote Competition and Comparison Shopping in Credit Card Market."
According to the CFPB, Americans pay $120 billion in credit card interest and fees each year. This database compares interest rates and other features when shopping for a new credit card.
Here is what the database looks like:
This CFPB keeps track of items like:
- APR (annualized percentage rate),
- Index (whether the monthly rate is fixed or is based on a variable rate)
- the Variable rate that the card's interest rate is based on,
- the Annual Fee
- Grace Period (how many days in a month before the interest rate applies if no payment)
- Late Fee (many firms are no longer doing this, but some still do it)
- 800 number for questions or lost cards
Knowing these factors allows consumers to compare which cards have the best terms.
Drawbacks of the CFPB Database
However, some have criticized the CFPB site because it does not seem to cover items in which consumers are interested. This can include:
- cash-based rebates,
- travel rewards, and
- other perks from credit card issuers.
However, the latest survey request from the CFPB seems to require this data from these types of perks from credit card companies. Page 39 of the TCCP User Survey Guide discusses the "Benefits" of credit card companies that take the survey.
Hopefully, that will mean that the CFPB will start tracking these benefits, even if they are not comparable among companies. However, so far the extensive public press release by the CFPB does not indicate the agency will release the data they collect on these benefits.
That would be very helpful to consumers. They could then see who has the highest cash-back rewards, or the highest travel-related rewards and related benefits.
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Mark R. Hake, CFA, writes articles on national and local news, stocks, and market events at InvestorPlace.com, Barchart.com, Medium.com, and Newsbreak.com as well as TalkMarkets.
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