Credit card companies are not reporting the total credit payments from millions of consumers to limit competition, according to a recent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau report.
Last May, the CFPB sent letters to CEOs of seven of the country’s largest credit card companies — JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, Bank of America, Capital One, Discover and American Express — asking whether they ever provided complete payment information. For companies that suppressed actual payment information, the CFPB asked why they stopped sending complete information.
“The responses suggested companies withheld information to make it harder for competitors to offer their more profitable and less risky customers better rates, products or services,” the report said. “A few companies specifically noted they observed other credit card companies had stopped furnishing actual payment information and didn’t want to be at a ‘competitive disadvantage’ by providing data their competitors had chosen to stop sharing.”
According to the CFPB, the share of furnished credit card accounts with actual payment information fell by more than half to 40 percent in 2015 from 88 percent in late 2013. Americans pay more than $120 billion annually in interest and fees on credit cards, according to a 2022 CFPB report.
“By suppressing actual payment data, the largest credit card companies are making it harder for people to shop for credit and save money,” the CFPB said. “We will continue to monitor and address credit card company practices that impede effective market competition, like actual payment data suppression. We will also brief the appropriate financial regulators and law enforcement agencies on our findings.”