June 19, 2012
NEW YORK (AP) — The government is launching an online database of complaints about credit cards.
The public can see what types of complaints people have filed against any bank that issues credit cards. They can also search complaints by ZIP code and see how banks responded. The database does not include personal information.
The database goes live Tuesday. It will be maintained by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was set up after the 2008 financial crisis to protect consumers from loans and cards with hidden fees or other traps.
The CFPB is the first agency to set up a public website to track complaints about consumer financial products. The agency will use the database to track complaints and identify potential problems in the marketplace, such as a new card that carries hidden or poorly disclosed fees. It also wants consumers to use the information to research financial products they might use.
‘‘Each and every time we hear from American consumers about their troublesome transactions with financial products, it gives us important insight,’’ CFPB director Richard Cordray said.
Also Tuesday, the agency released some details on thousands of complaints it has fielded about credit cards, home mortgages, student loans and other bank products. Among the findings:
— The agency received 19,000 complaints about home loans from December through June 1. The most common came from people having trouble paying their mortgages and were released to loan modifications, collections or foreclosure.
— It received 17,000 complaints about credit cards, mostly related to billing disputes, from December through June 1. In about 2,000 of those cases, customers recovered money.
The credit card database will contain information on complaints received by the agency since June 1. The agency expects to add retroactive data later this year.
The public database of complaints could be extended to mortgages, student loans and bank accounts.