Asking the public about the CARD Act

Yesterday’s CARD Act conference commemorated the first anniversary of the day when many provisions of the Credit CARD Act went into effect. Industry executives, leading academics, consumer advocates, government officials, and the CFPB convened to review changes in the card industry since the Act. In conjunction with the conference, the CFPB commissioned a survey to explore how people perceive some of the changes brought about by the Act.

Our survey showed that:

  • 60% of cardholders find their monthly statements easier to read and understand
  • 60% feel that the terms on their credit card are clearer than they used to be
  • Among those who are at least somewhat familiar with the CARD Act, 57% believe the Act has been personally beneficial to them

In addition, 32% of people who noticed a change in their statements reported that they changed their behavior by increasing the amount of their monthly payment or by limiting their use of credit cards.

Another important insight is that there is still work to be done to enhance consumer understanding of their credit cards. For example, 80% of all cardholders who carry a balance from month to month are able to report their interest rate, but 35% of them are unable to say how much interest they paid. The survey also showed that consumers who know their rates or fees are more satisfied than those who do not know this information.

Part of the CFPB’s role is to make sure consumers have clear information on costs and risks so they can make the best decisions for themselves and their families. We are paying close attention to the level of consumer understanding.

One other thing we’re especially excited about is that this is the first survey the CFPB has ever commissioned, and we’ve made the raw results available to the public to download in CSV and TXT (tab delimited) formats. This detailed data is available on our Credit CARD Act page along with more information about the Credit CARD Act itself and additional infographics like the one above. I encourage you to take a look.

Learn more about our survey methodology.

Marla Blow is the CFPB Deputy Assistant Director for Card Markets.

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