Consumer watchdog wants more credit card regulation

The group’s statement comes on the heels of a new CFPB report concluding that the total cost of credit declined by about 2 percent from 2008 to 2012.

The decrease is attributed in large part to 2009 legislation that brought on a series of new credit card regulations outlawing unexpected fees and rate hikes. Thanks to passage of the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act Consumers paid $1.5 billion less in late fees in 2012 and $2.5 billion less in fees for exceeding their credit limit, according to the report.

Consumers Union praised the progress, and lauded the CFPB for indicating that it plans to increase scrutiny of deferred interest cards, which can be loaded down with retroactive charges if the balance is not paid in full by a certain date.

The CFPB is also planning to look at optional services, like identify theft protection and credit monitoring, as well as application fees.

“We’re pleased to see the CFPB call out these products, and we’re glad that the bureau is going to take a hard look at the risks and benefits,” Tetreault said.