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Over at Time Magazine's Moneyland page, reporter Martha White says a JD Power survey finds consumers are happier with their credit cards and companies are receiving higher satisfaction scores.
She explains that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's new online credit card complaint database has played an important role.
We certainly agree. I am reminded of the words of Louis Brandeis, later to become an eminent Supreme Court Justice:
"Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman."
Martha White also adds: "To give credit where it’s due in this case, look to the CARD Act, that big piece of financial reform legislation that was passed in the wake of the financial crisis in 2009 over the strenuous objection of the banking industry."
The PIRG-backed Credit CARD Act improved consumer disclosures, protected college students and young people from unfair marketing and also banned the worst tricks used by credit card companies. In particular, it made it much harder to trick or force consumers into paying late fees, and so, as the story explains:
"Customers are also happier when it comes to both annual fees and penalty fees charged by credit card companies. When it comes to penalty fees, “One of the reasons the score is getting better is because fewer customers are having their late fees increased,” says Jim Miller, senior director of J.D. Power’s banking practice."
White goes on to quote a banker who admits that while the law may have cut into their profits, it "forced rationality."
And it was about time for that because the credit card industry, just a few years ago, was just like the rest of the banking industry: out of control.
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