The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has released its live database that lists and ranks credit cards based on complaints filed on their website and through their hotline, indicating whether or not the complaints have been resolved.
With all of the buzz in regards to recent credit card reform, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has received quite a bit of flack but they have come through when it counts. Many consumers have questioned the need for their services and the legitimacy of its efforts, but they have managed to accomplish a few of their initial goals.
For example, they promised to publish a roster of credit card complaints and their resolutions and have recently done so. These reports indicate how quickly and how well credit card issuers handled their complaints, with raw data that shows also the broad topic upon which the complaint touched.
In addition to the basic report, though, independent researchers have improved upon the raw data by comparing complaint lists against each respective company’s market share. Initially, these reports have shown that the two credit card issuers with the most complaints are Capital One and Citigroup, but it is also important to remember that these companies release thousands of cards into circulation every year, probably more than any others. Furthermore, banking industry analyst Ken Thomas says that only one of the two made it to the list of the “worst” credit card issuers. Time Magazine reported that Thomas ranked these cards using statistics filed with the CPFB regarding complaints in regards to the total number of customers retained by each financial institution.
While Citibank did gather nearly 20 percent of the complaints, their 20 percent market share offsets the number so that they appear to be in line with most other companies. This same strategy, when applied to Capital One, however, proves that their 8 percent market share cannot account for their having the highest number of complaints. If that were not alarming enough, though, Thomas ranked the Sun Trust bank as the “worst” credit card company; even though they only received 45 complaints (of the 13,502 total complaints filed), their low market share discounts their credibility and ranks them at the bottom.
To put it in the simplest terms, these banks received more complaints than their market share could account for:
- TD Bank
- GE Capital
- Barclaycard US
- Capital One
- Sun Trust
Most of the companies that fared the best in Thomas’ list are somewhat expected and include specialty credit unions as well as major credit card issuers. The highest ranking credit card institutions include:
- American Express
What should be noted, though, is that Thomas’ ranking system did not take into account the fact that Capital One had recently acquired HSBC’s American credit card portfolio during an earlier part of this year. At the same time, the analysis did expose that 98 percent of the complaints submitted by credit card carriers during the period after CPFB started to accept complaint reports consist of the 18 largest credit card issuers.
This should come equally as both surprising and expected as it should seem obvious that the largest and most popular companies are the ones who receive the most complaints. Wal-Mart, for example, receives enumerable complaints and they are still the largest retail chain in the United States. Of course a complaint with a retailer does not have quite the same impact on consumer confidence as a credit card issuing financial institution. This is why such a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau report is necessary as it helps more consumers to understand more of the intricacies within the credit card industry.