The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, better known as the CFPB, is now open for suggestions. The new consumer watchdog won’t get its full powers until July, but in the meantime it has launched ConsumerFinance.gov. To help ensure that it hits the ground running, the CFPB is asking you to weigh in early with ideas for what consumers want and need.
Go to www.ConsumerFinance.gov to tell the CFPB what you think it should do to better protect consumers from shady financial products and services. To help you get started, here are some suggestions that we have sent in about credit cards. To get more helpful ideas go to www.DefendYourDollars.org:
Reduce the amount that credit card banks can charge for a penalty fee, such as a late fee, from the $25 permitted under existing regulations to $10. Reduce the penalty fee level for a repeat incident from $35 to $15.
Limit the size of penalty interest rates to amounts that are “reasonable and proportional” The current rules only address the amounts of penalty fees, not penalty interest rate charges.
Require credit card companies to enable consumers to earn their way back to a good rate if they make six consecutive on time payments. Currently, consumers get this opportunity only if they make the first six payments after a penalty interest rate on time.
Require credit card terms and conditions be simple enough to fit on a two page plain language contract.
You can be creative in crafting your message as well. The CFPB is accepting suggestions from Twitter, YouTube and good ol’ fashion email. Or just go to www.ConsumerFinance.gov and make your suggestion.