CFPB Wants Better, Faster Database Of Credit Card Agreements

Much like a restaurant that has to shutter for a short time while installing new kitchen equipment, federal regulators occasionally have to press pause on an important process to fix things for the long haul. So in order to improve the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s public database of credit card agreements, the agency is planning to give banks a brief break from having to file those documents with the system.

Under the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibly and Disclosure (CARD) Act, each quarter certain banks are required to send their customer agreements to the CFPB, which then posts the document to an online database that consumers can use to compare terms and conditions.

However, the Bureau says the current system for receiving and posting agreements is too slow, sometimes taking up to a month for the documents to appear in the database.

As a result, the CFPB is proposing [PDF] a one year suspension on credit card issuers’ obligations to manually submit the agreements so that the Bureau can develop a new submission system.

“Streamlining the process for how credit card companies submit their agreements to us could help save time and reduce burden for both industry and our agency,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray says in a statement. “Updating this process should also give consumers and other users access to the data in a faster and more useable form.”

Depsite a reprieve from submitting the documents the Bureau, credit card issuers must still adhere to the CARD Act requirement to post agreements on their own publicly available websites.

The proposed suspension would apply to submissions due to the Bureau by the first business day on or after April 30, July 31, and October 31 of 2015, and January 31, 2016. Issuers would resume submitting the agreements beginning April 30, 2016.

If the suspension is approved, the Bureau says it will collect consumer credit agreements from the largest card issuers’ public websites and post them to the online database.

“This will help ensure that the database contains agreement terms that are currently offered to consumers by credit card issuers responsible for the substantial majority of existing and new credit cards in the U.S.,” the Bureau says.

The CFPB will accept public comments on the proposal until March 13.

CFPB Seeks to Improve Process for Industry Submission of Consumer Credit Card Agreements [Consumer Financial Protection Bureau]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.