Senior reporter Fred O. Williams

Fred O. Williams

Fred O. Williams is senior reporter for A business journalist since 1987, he began focusing on consumer credit while covering debt collection for the Buffalo (New York) News starting in 1997. That focus led to a research project supported by a fellowship at The Ohio State University and a book, "Fight Back Against Unfair Debt Collection Practices," published by FT Press in 2010. His work has appeared in Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine and USA Today, and he has won awards from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers and the New York State Associated Press Association.

Fred O. Williams' stories on

Credit card billing cycles: How long can they be? -- There's not a limit to the number of days a monthly billing period can have, so you may end up having unusually long billing cycles. However, that doesn't mean you'll pay more interest in a year. ... (See Long billing cycles)

Mastercard announces real-time bill payment -- Mastercard announced a system coming in 2019 to pay bills almost instantly using new bank-to-bank payment infrastructure. ... (See Real-time bill payments)

Cash advance: Can interest charges continue indefinitely? -- If you don't want to pay interest on a cash advance indefinitely, make sure to pay the cash advance balance on your monthly statement in addition to the minimum payment. ... (See Cash advance interest charges)

Card balances rose $4.8 billion in August, Fed report shows -- Revolving debt -- chiefly credit card balances -- grew at a 5.6 percent annual rate in the back-to-school shopping month, according to the Federal Reserve ... (See Consumer credit report)

Crowdfunding credit card debt: Pros, cons -- You can crowdfund your credit card debt online, but the success rates are low and there are quite a few rules and risks to consider. ... (See Crowdfunding credit card debt)

Credit card delinquencies fell in Q2 2018, ABA says -- Late payments on bank-issued credit cards edged below 3 percent of accounts in the second quarter of 2018, the American Bankers Association said. ... (See Credit card delinquencies down)

Credit card debt: Making a payment doesn't stop collection lawsuit -- Why making a payment on an overdue debt is the wrong thing to do when facing legal action. ... (See Making payment on overdue card debt)

Credit card APRs to rise as Fed raises rates again -- The Federal Reserve increased its benchmark interest rate by a quarter point on Wednesday to keep inflation in check ... (See Fed raises rates for the third time in 2018)

Paying off credit card in full by mistake: Can you get a refund? -- If you paid your credit card balance in full accidentally, card issuers will generally refund the amount over the minimum payment due -- but the refund may take longer than you'd like. ... (See Paid card balance in full by mistake)

Credit card company asking for my income: Why, what you should do -- Telling your income is mandatory on a card application, but voluntary once you have been approved. However, card issuers need income information to offer you a credit limit increase under Credit CARD Act rules. ... (See Card company questions about income)

Fed: Balances on cards rose in July -- Credit card balances rose at a 1.5 percent annualized rate in July, the Federal Reserve said, reversing a decline the previous month. ... (See Consumer credit report)

Equifax breach one year later: What has changed, how to protect yourself -- September 2018 marks the first anniversary of Equifax's massive breach, which prompted calls for tougher security. Continuing hacks, however, prove that breaches won't cease. ... (See Equifax data breach one year later)

Payment allocation: How to make a card payment and a purchase the same day -- A payment that comes in the same day as a purchase should be applied to the purchase, if the purchase balance has the highest interest rate. ... (See Make card payment and purchase the same day)

Surprise medical bills: How to avoid charges on card-on-file -- Medical offices are getting broad authority to charge your credit card long after you visit from an obscure clause in their patient agreement forms. Here's how to avoid surprise charges. ... (See Avoid surprise medical charges on card-on-file)

Credit card rewards and cardholder satisfaction statistics -- Rewards are key factor in cardholder satisfaction, with cash rebates being the most popular form of reward ... (See Stats)

Credit card payments: How quickly they should be reflected on your account -- Bank regulations dictate that banks should post your payment on the day they receive it. However, payment methods and bank policies determine how quickly that can happen. ... (See Credit card payments)

Privacy rights: As banks talk with Facebook, time to review opt-out options -- With Facebook seeking customer data from banks, federal privacy protections let you opt out of some data sharing by financial institutions. ... (See Review privacy rights)

J.D. Power Satisfaction Survey 2018: Discover reclaims top rank -- Rewards programs are a top factor on people's satisfaction with credit cards, JDPower's annual survey found. In 2018, Discover reclaimed the top position, with American Express in close second. ... (See J.D. Power customer satisfaction survey)

NY Fed: Credit reports show fewer debts in collection -- Implementation of tighter credit reporting standards has meant a steep drop in collection demerits and an average 11-point increase in credit scores, says a New York Fed study. ... (See Fewer credit accounts in collection: NY Fed)

Skip credit card payments: These are your options -- Can you skip a credit card payment when there's a temporary loss of income? Most issuers might offer you a payment reduction instead, depending on your payment history. These are your options. ... (See Skip credit card payment)

CareCredit expansion: High-rate medical card reaches new markets -- CareCredit, a popular medical card, is expanding to new markets, but with a 26.99 percent standard APR, consumers might be better off considering other financing options, experts say. ... (See CareCredit expansion)

Banks tighten standards for card applicants, says Federal Reserve -- Banks made it harder to get a credit card in the second quarter of 2018, according to the Federal Reserve's survey of bank loan officers, with subprime borrowers facing tighter approval standards. ... (See Fed's Q2 2018 Survey of Bank Loan Offices)

Credit card issuers supervised by the CFPB -- Concerned about anti-consumer practices related to your credit card? Rest assured ? if your card was issued by a major institution, it is supervised by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. ... (See Banks supervised by CFPB)

Online sales top cause of complaints ? credit cards can protect you -- Internet sales are the fastest-rising consumer gripe, according to a Consumer Federation of America report. Credit cards remain the safest way to pay on the web, the report also found. ... (See Consumer complaints and credit card safety)

The Fine Print: Can a credit card charge interest after death? -- A credit card issuer can continue to charge interest after death. However there are specific rules in place for estate that protect heirs. ... (See Credit card interest after death)

ABA's Credit Card Market Monitor Q1 2018 -- A report by the American Bankers Association says new cards fell in first quarter of 2018 for the first time in nearly seven years. ... (See ABA Q1 2018 report)

Minimum payment: How it appears on credit card statements -- On a statement, the interest-plus-1-percent formula might look like interest is counted twice -- but it actually speeds up repayment ... (See Minimum payment formula)

Rewards, credit availability could take a hit as credit card banks' profits fall -- Profits at U.S. credit card banks fell due to higher delinquencies and lower net noninterest income in 2017, according to a Federal Reserve report. ... (See Fed report on credit card banks' profits)

Here's what to do if Amazon packages go missing -- What can you do if your Amazon packages go missing? You have three layers of protection (including your credit cards) from porch pirates nabbing boxes. ... (See Amazon deliveries)

Americans' fears of missing a debt payment rise -- Americans' fears of missing a minimum debt payment rose in June for the third month in a row, according to the New York Fed?s Survey of Consumer Expectations. ... (See Fears of missing a payment)

Surcharges grow more common, even in states where they're banned -- Surcharges for paying with a credit card are growing, even in states where these fees to cover 'swipe fees' are banned by law. ... (See Credit card surcharges)

CFPB settles with Citi over APR errors -- Citi is paying refunds to credit card users whose APRs weren't reduced in line with CARD Act rules after a rate increase. ... (See CFPB settles with Citi)

Supreme Court upholds credit card anti-steering rules -- The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Amex's 'anti-steering' rules, which block merchants from offering customers discounts for using a card that's cheaper to process ... (See Anti-steering rules)

Supreme Court expands online sales tax collection -- Consumers will pay more for many out-of-state transactions as result of high court's decision in an online retail case ... (See Sales taxes on online transactions)

How to avoid credit card sign-up bonus bait and switch -- Just because a card company invites you to apply for a card and approves your application does not necessarily mean it will give you the sign-up bonus that comes with the offer. ... (See Avoiding sign-up bonus bait and switch)

Credit card APRs to rise again as the Federal Reserve raises benchmark rate a quarter point -- The Federal Reserve raised its federal funds rate a quarter point for the second time this year, meaning higher rates for variable rate credit cards ... (See APRs to rise as Fed raises rates)

When is a charge on a credit card unauthorized? -- Unauthorized charges on credit cards are forbidden, but what happens when the charge was made by a company you deal with on an ongoing basis? ... (See Unauthorized credit card charges)

Bill that could help prevent synthetic ID fraud passes Congress -- Banks will have new tools to fight synthetic identity fraud under a bill headed to President Trump's desk ... (See Synthetic ID fraud)

Can you cancel your Amazon Prime, Costco memberships and keep using their cards? -- If you cancel a retailer's membership, can you keep using a credit card issued by them? We analyzed two cases: Amazon Prime and Costco. ... (See Retailer membership and credit cards)

Supreme Court OKs sports gambling ? will credit cards? -- Cards that allow betting at all treat it as a costly cash advance. That could change in wake of Supreme Court ruling allowing states to legalize sports betting ... (See Sports betting and credit cards)

CFPB considers deleting complaints from website -- CFPB acting director John M. 'Mick" Mulvaney said deleting public database of consumer complaints about companies is an option ... (See CFPB complaint database)

Chase cuts benefits on 1 card, is reviewing other cards' perks -- Chase is dropping price protection and return protection from an airline credit card, and may be considering further changes to other products. ... (See Chase dropping card benefits)

Consumers' fears of missing payments hit record low, NY Fed says -- Consumers' expectations of meeting their minimum debt payments reached a record level of optimism in March, New York Fed survey finds. ... (See NY Fed survey of consumer expectations)

Credit card late payments fall to lowest level in three years, bank group says -- Delinquencies on credit card accounts fell in the fourth quarter of 2017 for their best showing in more than three years, bank industry group says. ... (See Credit card delinquencies)

CFPB rollback of payday loan protection draws criticism -- Consumer advocates decry lack of enforcement actions and reopening of payday loan regulation by consumer watchdog agency led by Trump appointee. ... (See CFPB rolling back payday loan protections)

Store-card issuers top list of complaints with the CFPB -- Retail cards were the top source of credit card-related gripes filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2017. ... (See Credit card complaints)

Credit card APRs to rise as Federal Reserve raises rates again -- Credit card APRs will rise after the government's interest rate setting committee decided to raise its benchmark rate by 0.25 percent to keep inflation in check. ... (See Fed raises rates; card APRs to rise)

Under Senate bill, free credit freezes, fewer consumer protections -- Consumers will get free, fast credit freezes to halt ID theft under a Senate bill, which also cuts protections against unfair and risky lending. ... (See Free credit freeze proposal)

Credit cards are top source of ID theft complaints, FTC says -- Credit cards, despite tighter security, have become the top source of ID theft complaints, according to a 2017 Federal Trade Commission report. ... (See FTC report on ID theft and credit cards)

Consumer watchdog reverses course under Trump appointee -- Three months after taking charge of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, John 'Mick' Mulvaney has stopped or reversed many of its efforts to protect consumers. ... (See CFPB's transformation under Mulvaney)

Credit card case before Supreme Court could change rewards game -- Consumers could get discounts for using one credit card over another, but rewards could be affected if Supreme Court rules against American Express's anti-steering rules. ... (See Card rewards' legal challenge)

5 months after Equifax breach, no new data security rules -- Five months after Equifax data breach, debate over tighter security rules continues ? but new tools let individuals lock their credit files. ... (See After Equifax, still no data security rules)

Late payments on cards worsen as balances rise, NY Fed says -- Growing card balances are weighing heavier on consumers' budgets, New York Fed report shows, but problems remain low historically ... (See Credit card delinquencies on the rise)

U.S. cities with the heaviest credit card debt burden: San Antonio is No. 1 -- San Antonio residents would take the longest time to pay off credit card debt relative to income compared to other major U.S. cities, a analysis found. By contrast, San Francisco and Minneapolis residents would take the shortest. ... (See Cities with most, least card debt burden)

Wells Fargo: Federal Reserve's growth cap shouldn't hit credit card holders -- Wells Fargo cardholders won't be affected by the Federal Reserve's cap on bank's growth following the fake account scandal in 2016, banks says. ... (See Fed's cap effect on Wells Fargo cards)

CFPB's structure is constitutional, appeals court rules -- The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Congress can insulate the federal consumer protection bureau from political pressure by shielding the director from being fired. ... (See CFPB's structure ruled constitutional)

What new Fed Chair Jerome Powell means for consumers -- While other White House appointees disrupt their agencies, Jerome Powell is expected to continue the Federal Reserve's course of gradually raising interest rates ... (See New Fed Chair Jerome Powell)

Average credit scores continue climbing, despite rising debt -- U.S. consumers managed to improve their credit scores overall in 2017, despite rising levels of debt, according to a study by Experian ... (See Experian's State of Credit study)

Judge lets Trump appointee remain as CFPB head -- A federal judge rules against a challenge that said Mick Mulvaney's appointment as acting director undermines the consumer protection bureau's independence. ... (See Legal battle over CFPB)

Card surcharge ban laws take another blow -- State laws that stop merchants from charging you extra when you use a credit card took another blow this week from a California appeals court ruling. ... (See Credit card surcharges)

CFPB report: Deferred interest problems grow -- The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau shifted away from criticism of the consumer credit card market in the latest edition of its biennial report ... (See Deferred interest problems)

Trump appointee can stay in charge of CFPB, for now -- Trump-appointee Mick Mulvaney will remain in charge of CFPB for now, after court offered no ruling in battle over the consumer protection agency. ... (See Legal battle over CFPB)

Federal Reserve raises rates for third time this year -- The U.S. central bank raised its benchmark rate a quarter point ? meaning higher APRs on most credit cards ? and projected more hikes in 2018. ... (See Fed raises rates; card APRs to increase)

Discover drops 6 benefits for shoppers, travelers -- Extended warranties, backup car insurance, purchase protection and return guarantee are among the rarely used benefits that Discover ended Feb. 27. 2018. Price protection will end in October 2018 ... (See Discover ends some card benefits)

Trump appointee promises 'dramatically different' CFPB -- As CFPB's acting director, Trump appointee Mick Mulvaney has broad authority to slow the agency crackdowns on fraud and consumer refunds. ... (See Changes in CFPB under Mick Mulvaney)

Mandatory arbitration: Most credit cards allow a way out -- A survey of large credit card issuers finds most offer a way to avoid mandatory arbitration clauses that strip consumers' legal rights ... (See Mandatory credit card arbitration study)

Card applicants getting approved more often, NY Fed says -- Credit card applicants met with success more often in the past year, New York Fed survey says, as applicants' credit improved ... (See NY Fed's Survey of Consumer Expectations)

Consumer protection chief resigns, Trump to pick successor -- Richard Cordray, founding director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, just announced his departure; will be replaced by President Trump. ... (See CFPB chief announces departure)

NY Fed: Credit card delinquencies continue to rise -- Federal Reserve Bank of New York's Household Debt and Credit report says more balances are in late-payment status, but overall delinquencies are moderate ... (See Credit card delinquencies rising)

CFPB sues country's largest debt settlement company -- Federal consumer watchdog accuses Freedom Debt Relief of misleading customers, collecting unearned fees ... (See CFPB sues Freedom Debt Relief)

Banks tighten credit card loan standards, Fed says -- Federal Reserve survey of senior loan officers finds declining appetite for risk meant higher barriers for credit card applicants in the third quarter. ... (See Tightening credit card loan standards)

Senate repeals rule that allows consumers to band together and sue -- The Senate voted to strike down a consumer protection rule that would have restricted companies' ability to impose arbitration in disputes with customers ... (See Arbitration rule repeal)

Will banks raise APRs if stripped of legal shield provided by arbitration? -- Top regulators are feuding about the costs banks might pass on to customers if they're have to drop a shield from class-action lawsuits ... (See Will arbitration rule increase APRs?)

In the wake of Equifax hack, Congress proposes credit bureau reform -- Lawmakers call for changes in credit report system to protect people's data, or at least give them more control over it ... (See Congress proposes credit bureau reform)

Debt relief firm that claimed ties to US government sued by CFPB -- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sued two companies both known as FDAA for an allegedly illegal debt relief scheme targeting credit card debtors ... (See Fake debt relief firm sued by CFPB)

CFPB regulates payday loans, auto-title loans -- The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced a rule on costly payday and auto title loans designed to limit costly re-borrowing without cutting off access to emergency loans ... (See CFPB regulates payday loans)

Fewer late payments on cards show consumer strength, banks say -- Late payments on credit cards declined in the second quarter from levels that were already low, according to American Bankers Association report ... (See Card delinquencies fell in Q2)

Ex-CEO of Equifax proposes consumer control of their credit files -- Equifax ex-CEO Richard Smith told Congress the company will give consumers ability to lock and unlock their credit file for free, says other credit bureaus should follow suit ... (See Equifax ex-CEO testifies in Congress)

Federal civil penalty fund pays refunds to scam victims -- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's civil penalty fund has allocated nearly half a billion dollars for victims of scams that were too broke to make refunds ... (See Civil penalty fund and scam victims)

How to avoid unnecessary fraud freezes in the wake of Equifax breach -- As banks tighten their security following the Equifax hack and other breaches, there are ways to reduce the odds of being hit with a fraud freeze unnecessarily ... (See Card security after Equifax breach)

Credit cards are now most common type of debt, Fed finds -- The Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finances found 44 percent of families with card debt in 2016, outpacing mortgages for first time ... (See Fed: credit cards most common type of debt)

The Equal Credit Opportunity Act: Protecting yourself from credit discrimination -- An August 2017 discrimination settlement against American Express highlights why regulators and consumers need to be more wary. ... (See Equal Credit Opportunity Act)

Credit freeze costs come under fire -- Following the data breach at Equifax, consumers, lawmakers ask: Why should we pay for credit bureau's blunder? ... (See Credit freezes: low-cost options)

Q&A: What to know, what to do about Equifax data breach -- The data taken from credit bureau Equifax handed powerful tools for identity thieves, experts say. Here are steps to monitor your accounts and protect your identity from being hijacked. ... (See Equifax breach Q&A )

How credit freezes work & what they cost -- Credit freezes can be great tools for protecting yourself against identity theft, experts say, but they're not for everyone ... (See How credit freezes work)

Equifax breach exposes data of 147.9 million U.S. consumers -- A total of 147.9 million U.S. consumers had information exposed included Social Security numbers and addresses, and the credit card numbers of 209,000 cardholders. ... (See Equifax data breach)

CFPB: American Express discriminated in Puerto Rico, territories -- More than 200,000 American Express credit customers in Puerto Rico and U.S. territories are receiving $96 million in compensation for discriminatory practices, CFPB announced. ... (See AmEx)

New delinquencies rising for credit card users, New York Fed finds -- Newly delinquent credit card accounts are accelerating, a "potentially concerning" trend, New York Fed economists said ... (See Delinquency)

How to prepare for the next economic downturn -- With the current economic expansion aging beyond the normal lifespan, credit counselors advise how to prepare for lean times ... (See Recession)

Consumer protection bureau warns about pay-by-phone fees -- The government's consumer watchdog issued a warning Monday that companies are charging pay-by-phone fees that can be unnecessary and misleading ... (See Fees)

DIY credit card arbitration: You may be able to opt out -- Consumers can preserve their right to go to court instead of private arbitration in many cases by going through and opt-out process ... (See Arbitration)

Rejection of credit card applications rises, New York Fed survey shows -- Consumers got turned down for cards at highest rate since 2015, New York Fed survey says ... (See Credit)

CFPB rule: Consumers should be able to band together and sue -- Banks, GOP oppose measure that would end "mandatory arbitration" clauses that prevented class-action suits ... (See Arbitration)

Card issuers' profits slip, Fed report says -- Profits weighed down by anticipated delinquencies, but they remain the highest in banking industry ... (See Profits)

Fed boosts rates another quarter-point -- The Federal Reserve voted to increase its target federal funds rate by a quarter point, triggering an equal rise in APRs on credit card balances ... (See Fed)

Consumer fear of missing a debt payment is on the rise -- Fear of missing a minimum debt payment rose for the third month in a row in May, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York Survey of Consumer Expectations ... (See Fear)

Supreme Court gives debt buyers a pass from collection law -- In a unanimous Supreme Court ruling Monday, debt buyers can collect accounts they own without obeying the federal law that reins in professional debt collectors ... (See FDCPA)

House passes CHOICE Act that would gut consumer protections -- The House of Representatives passed a GOP-backed deregulation bill that would undo Dodd-Frank consumer protections, but it faces uncertain future in the Senate ... (See Dodd-Frank repeal)

Store cards urged to reconsider 'deferred interest' credit card offers -- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sent a letter to retail card companies urging them to reform their 0-percent "deferred interest" promotions to make them simpler, less risky for consumers. ... (See Retailers)

CHOICE Act would let debt buyers raise interest rates -- One sentence in the Financial Choice Act that aims to repeal and replace the Dodd-Frank consumer protection law would allow debt buyers to raise interest rates beyond state-set limits ... (See Debt)

Court hears arguments on CFPB constitutionality -- The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals hearing Wednesday sets the stage for a decision that could reduce the independence and power of the federal consumer watchdog agency ... (See CFPB)

Credit card issuer complaints rose 20 percent in 2016 -- Complaints about credit cards rose by 20 percent in 2016, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, along with a surge of dissatisfaction with reward programs. American Express, Barclays PLC and Citibank topped the gripes list ... (See Card complaints)

Household debt passes pre-recession peak, NY Fed finds -- U.S. household debt has surpassed its pre-recession peak for the first time, says new data from the New York Fed. Economists say milestone doesn't mean consumers are over-leveraged ... (See Debt)

Prepaid card regulations survive GOP repeal effort in Congress -- Prepaid cards will get protections from surprise fees and other problems, as an Obama-era regulation survives Republican repeal attempt. ... (See Prepaid)

Fed: banks ease grip modestly on cards in first quarter of 2017 -- Banks eased credit standards somewhat for credit card applicants in the first quarter, according to the survey of senior loan officers ... (See Fed)

Rewards cards draw a surge of complaints to CFPB -- Complaints about credit card rewards jumped 88 percent last year to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ... (See Rewards)

CFPB sues tribal lenders, seeks refunds for customers -- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has filed a lawsuit against four high-cost lenders owned by a California tribe, saying violations make the loans void ... (See Tribal lenders)

Sweeping deregulation plan targets consumer protection agency -- A hearing in Congress showcased the Financial CHOICE Act, with proposals to strip the major powers of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ... (See CFPB)

Debt buyers may get exemption from collection rules -- The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday on whether companies that buy debt should be exempt from consumer protections that apply to debt collectors ... (See Debt)

Consumer debts rise, but fears of missing payments fall -- Fears of missing a debt payment are down substantially in a Federal Reserve Bank of New York survey, even as debt loads are grow and interest rates rise ... (See Survey)

Complaints about debt-protection plans remain high -- Surprise fees and no-show benefits still plague users of insurance-like programs designed to make payments when you can't ... (See Fees)

Supreme Court inflicts blow on credit card surcharge ban -- State laws that block merchants from slapping surcharges on credit card users were dealt a blow by ruling that they affect free speech rights ... (See Ban)

Experian fined $3 million for deceptive credit score marketing -- Experian falsely led people to believe they were buying credit scores actually used by lenders, consumer protection bureau charges ... (See Fine)

Applications dip, credit market shows signs of cooling off -- The market for consumer loans, including credit cards, pulled back in a February survey of consumers ... (See Market)

APRs on the rise as Fed steps up rate hikes -- Credit card users will pay higher rates on existing balances as the Federal Reserve votes to hike a key rate -- and predicts more to come ... (See Rates)

United Debt Counselors to refund some fees -- Federal Trade Commission says Texas debt settlement company blasted out deceptive mail to 100,000 credit card users per week ... (See Refund)

How to minimize the cost of a cash advance -- Cash advances can be costly, but if you take care and pay them quickly, they can be an affordable choice for emergency cash ... (See Cash)

Poll: Few aware of embattled consumer watchdog -- Consumers would probably miss the federal watchdog agency if Republicans close or disarm it, but only 17 percent are aware of it ... (See CFPB poll)

Congress may repeal CFPB prepaid card rule -- Consumer protections that have been on the drawing board for years are endangered by tide of deregulation in Washington ... (See CFPB)

Banks expect credit card troubles to mount in 2017 -- Fed's quarterly survey of loan officers finds pullbacks, concern over debt, delinquency ... (See Survey)

Study: Card fraud shifts online -- Consumers need to change their defenses, too ... (See Fraud)

CFPB levies $13 million in penalties for RushCard outage -- UniRush LLC and Mastercard failures in botched system conversion amount to breach of consumer protection law, agency charges ... (See RushCard)

CFPB provides worksheet to help cut card spending -- Reducing card use can be easier said than done. Worksheet from U.S. consumer bureau provides one simple blueprint ... (See Worksheet)

CFPB warning: incentives can harm consumers -- The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a broad warning about sales incentives, possibly signalling a new enforcement priority ... (See Warning)

CFPB: Minn. bank tricked customers into costly overdraft fees -- Federal consumer watchdog charges TCF National Bank obscured fees and gave customers hard-sell to opt in for fees of $35 per overdraft ... (See Overdraft)

Survey: Debt collection problems widespread -- For the one-third of Americans who face collection attempts, threats, falsehoods and other abuses not unusual, survey finds ... (See Debt)

Supreme Court considers credit card surcharges -- If New York's surcharge ban falls, other states could domino, bringing retailers a step closer to charging extra to use plastic ... (See Surcharges)

Credit bureaus to refund $17.7 million for score marketing -- TransUnion and Equifax lured consumers into buying costly credit scores not really used by lenders, consumer watchdog says ... (See Refund)

Fed study: Debit card payments trump credit cards and checks -- Number of US card payments in 2015 accounts for two-thirds of non-cash payments in the U.S. ... (See Study)

Alaska, New Mexico have heaviest card debt burdens -- A combination of economic forces and individual financial discipline gives some places a heavier debt burden than others ... (See Debt)

APRs to go up as Fed raises interest rates -- Interest rate setters at the Federal Reserve raised their benchmark federal funds rate for just the second time in 10 years ... (See Fed)

Average credit score climbs in Experian study -- The U.S. consumer's average credit score rose 4 points in the past year, nearing pre-recession levels, according to the credit bureau Experian ... (See Scores)

Who owns consumer data? CFPB launches inquiry -- U.S. watchdog agency will examine choice, security and control of digital financial information ... (See Data)

Holidays bring a surge in retail cards, study finds -- Number of cards, amounts owed, delinquencies all projected to rise ... (See Retail cards)

How Trump's election may affect credit, consumers -- US consumer watchdog agency may be leashed ... (See Trump and credit)

CFPB orders halt to 'security interest' debt collection practice -- Navy Federal ordered to stop freezing customer accounts after fine issued ... (See CFPB)

Robo-comments on payday loans clog regulation-making machinery -- A record 1 million comments on a federal payday loan rule will prolong its review, but thousands of pro-payday comments are suspiciously alike ... (See Payday)

Navy Federal fined $28.5 million for debt collection tactics -- Biggest US credit union strong-armed its members, CFPB says ... (See Collection)

Consumer agency finalizes prepaid card regulations -- Standardized fee chart makes it easier to compare costs ... (See Prepaid)

Protect yourself from banks 'cross-selling' fake accounts -- Checking up on your bank requires more than reviewing account statements and standard credit reports ... (See Accounts)

APRs to stand pat as Fed puts off rate increase -- Credit card users were spared higher APRs for now, but should brace for an increase before year end ... (See Federal Reserve)

Study: Rising interest rates will impact 92 million in US -- A study by credit bureau TransUnion finds that 92 million U.S. consumers will face higher monthly payments when interest rates rise, and 9 million will struggle ... (See Rates)

Readability battle: card agreements versus Harry Potter -- See how card agreements stack up in readability against familiar documents, from novels to nursery rhymes to the U.S. Constitution ... (See Card agreements versus Harry Potter)

First National Bank of Omaha refunds $27.75 million for add-ons -- Misleading marketing of credit card add-on products that did not deliver what they promised brings regulatory action ... (See Refund)

Credit card ownership lags for those with low scores -- Credit card ownership is rebounding, but remains far behind levels seen before the recession, and consumers with bad credit are the ones doing without plastic ... (See Ownership)

Fed: Revolving debt surges in June -- Balances on credit cards grew at a 9.7 percent annual rate in June, the Federal Reserve's consumer credit report said ... (See Consumer credit)

CFPB proposes new limits on debt collectors -- You'd have to be told if debt's too old to legally collect ... (See Debt collectors)

APRs hold steady as Fed opts against rate increase -- The Federal Reserve held off on lifting interest rates, giving credit card holders a temporary reprieve from higher APRs ... (See Fed)

CFPB lists our biggest complaints with credit cards -- Card complaints were up 9 percent in the second quarter as consumers groused about fees, costs, rewards and other issues ... (See CFPB)

LA, Minneapolis best cities for money management skills -- Consumers in Los Angeles and Minneapolis-St. Paul excel at managing their finances, based on credit scores adjusted for income and other factors ... (See Cities)

NY Fed: Credit card applications up, rejections down -- Consumers applied for credit cards at a record rate in a June survey, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York ... (See Applications)

How do I tell when card debt legally expires? -- The statute of limitations in your state and your card agreement are the starting points, but individual cases can be complex ... (See Debt legally expires)

Appeals court rejects $7.25 billion swipe-fee settlement -- An appeals court overturned a 2012 swipe-fee settlement that allowed merchants to surcharge Visa and MasterCard credit card transactions ... (See Surcharge)

Maximum fee rises to $38 for repeat late fees -- The Consumer Financial Protection bureau raised the maximum late fee that credit cards can charge for repeat late fees by $1 ... (See Late fee mistake)

Credit card fee, rate statistics -- How many of us are paying fees on our credit cards, and what is the average APR on a card with a balance? has compiled statistics to answer those questions and more ... (See Fees and interest)

Fed dials back rate-hike expectations -- In a reprieve for credit card borrowers, the Federal Reserve decided against a rate increase for the fourth time this year and signaled a slower pace of increases ... (See Rates)

Fed: Credit card banking remains highly profitable -- Big card-issuing banks get triple the earnings, annual Fed profitability report says ... (See Profitable)

CFPB proposes regulations on payday loans, other 'debt traps' -- Consumer bureau's rules aim to make small-dollar loans safer without cutting off emergency credit for subprime borrowers ... (See Payday)

Prepaid card fee disclosure chart -- We checked the disclosure of fees for 10 widely available prepaid cards. Here's what we found ... (See Prepaid fee disclosure chart)

Most prepaid cards fail to disclose fees -- We checked 10 prepaid cards' disclosures against a federal model for transparency; 7 fall short ... (See Prepaid)

Consumers? rights to accurate credit reports get boost -- Consumer advocates buoyed by a Congressional proposal to make the credit reporting system fairer and a Supreme Court decision upholding right to accurate information reporting ... (See Credit reports)

Wal-Mart sues Visa over debit choice -- Retailing giant says it wants to require PIN transactions on debit cards to reduce fraud and transaction costs ... (See PIN vs. signature)

CFPB proposes arbitration limits -- Consumers would get back their right to a day in court under a rule proposed Thursday by the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. ... (See Arbitration)

RushCard drops retail sales -- Market pullback comes six months after outage sparked federal investigation, class-action lawsuits ... (See RushCard)

Fed holds interest rates steady for now -- The Federal Reserve decided to keep its influential benchmark rate unchanged, while hinting at a rate increase later this year ... (See Fed)

Study: Payday loans trigger overdraft fees -- Online payday borrowers who miss repayment face average $185 in bank overdraft fees, federal study finds ... (See Payday loans)

Infographic: Credit card complaint rates -- Some credit lenders manage to lessen the number of complains lodged against them in 2015, compared to 2014 ... (See Complaints)

Salaries of CEOs at nonprofit credit counseling agencies -- As industry shrinks, executives pull in six- and seven-figure paychecks ... (See CEO pay)

Banks reject more card applications -- Lenders stamped "reject" on more credit card applications in the New York Fed's latest survey, reversing course ... (See Rejection)

More merchants adding credit card surcharges -- Surcharges for paying with cards appear to be on the rise ... (See Surcharges)

Cardholders spared APR increase for now -- The Federal Reserve's rate setting committee voted to keep its benchmark rate at the level set in December and lowered expectation for the pace of future increases ... (See Fed)

Citi to refund $5 million to cardholders for illegal collections -- About 2,100 Citi cardholders will get $5 million back for inflated interest payments on debts sold to collectors, under a U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau crackdown ... (See Refund)

Oil-patch states see rise in loan delinquencies -- Subprime lending continues to rise, says TransUnion data ... (See Delinquencies)

FTC adds tools for ID theft victims -- Amid an epidemic of identity theft, the Federal Trade Commission launched a website designed to shorten the lengthy recovery process ... (See ID theft)

Fed pauses interest rate rise -- After raising its benchmark rate in December, the Federal Reserve decided to refrain from another increase, for now ... (See Fed holds steady)

Best, worst states for money management -- A state-by-state look at how well consumers manage their money, based on their average credit scores and household incomes ... (See State money management)

Chart: How states rank for money management -- A state-by-state look at how well consumers manage their money, based on their average credit scores and household incomes ... (See State rankings: money management)

Maximum credit card late fee falls $1 for 2016, to $37 -- The maximum late fee that credit cards can charge will fall to $37 next year because of inflation adjustment ... (See Late fee cap)

How the prime rate is set -- One benchmark rate published in The Wall Street Journal affects millions of credit card APRs ... (See Prime rate)

How much is the average credit card debt in America? -- Measures of average credit card debt range from just over $1,000 to nearly $10,000, depending on the type of card and how it's calculated ... (See Average)

Fed raises interest rates, card APRs to follow -- The U.S. central bank pushed its benchmark rate up a quarter point, setting the stage for rate hikes on credit cards and other consumer debts ... (more)

What will an interest rate hike cost? -- Use this chart to find the added monthly cost of a quarter-point interest rate increase for a given credit card balance ... (See Interest rate chart)

Quarter-point interest rate calculator -- How a quarter-point increase in interest rates raises the cost of carrying a given credit card balance ... (See Quarter point rate calculator)

US report: CARD Act saved consumers $16 billion -- The U.S. Credit CARD Act has cleaned up the worst practices in the business since it was signed in 2009, but tricks and traps remain, consumer bureau report says ... (See CARD Act report)

Revoking automatic debits from your account -- Auto payments can be convenient, but you have rights under the law to stop allowing access to your bank accounts if you need to ... (See Stopping auto-payments)

Fed: Access to credit cards increasing -- Fewer applicants rejected for new cards, but issuers stingy with credit limit increases ... (See Credit access)

Card debt is under control for the 2015 holidays -- U.S. consumers show an appetite for borrowing but their balances and late payments are low, a report from the big credit bureau shows ... (See Card debt report)

Younger borrowers closing delinquency gap -- Younger people have higher expectations of missing a debt payment, survey finds ... (See Young borrowers' delinquency )

Watchdog agencies announce debt collection crackdown -- Federal and state regulators announced a coordinated effort to fight a growing tide of debt collection abuses ... (more)

Fed: Banks make credit flow a bit easier -- Consumers' appetite for cards grew in the third quarter, while banks were somewhat more willing to serve up new cards ... (See Credit terms ease)

Fed holds interest rates near zero -- After holding short-term interest rates near zero since the end of 2008, the U.S. central bank continued to put off an increase on Wednesday ... (See FOMC)

Most banks invisible on federal complaint website -- A gap in consumer protection law exempts thousands of smaller banks from the federal government's public complaint records ... (See Invisible bank complaints )

CFPB moves toward restriction on mandatory arbitration -- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is considering a rule that would ensure consumers' right to band together and sue credit card issuers ... (See Arbitration rule)

Banks making refunds for add-on products -- Fifth Third bank agreed to refund some $3 million to about 24,500 customers for debt protection coverage that regulators say was marketed falsely ... (See Add-on marketing refunds)

How to avoid big costs of deferred-interest financing deals -- No-interest financing is tricky, especially if you have more than one balance on the card. Here's how to avoid hefty costs for back interest ... (See Deferred interest)

Fed puts off interest rate hike -- Federal Reserve policymakers kept their important benchmark rate near zero, holding credit card APRs steady for the time being ... (See FOMC)

CFPB orders debt buyers to pay refunds, reform practices -- Encore Capital Group and Portfolio Recovery Associates will pay a combined $18 million in fines and provide $61 million in refunds ... (See Debt collection)

FDIC: Store card issuer Comenity must refund $61.5 million -- Cardholders were misled over payment 'insurance' add-ons, agency says ... (See Comenity bank refund)

Study: We underestimate our credit card debt -- We accurately recall other types of debt, but not card debt, says a newly updated Federal Reserve report ... (See Underestimate card debt)

Discover unseats AmEx in card satisfaction rankings -- Upstart Discover bumped venerable American Express from No. 1 in customer satisfaction, according to JD Power's ninth annual survey ... (See Satisfaction survey)

Mobile banking becoming a consumer favorite -- As banking by cellphone takes off, branches are falling out of favor as American consumers' favorite way to do their financial business ... (See Mobile banking survey)

Household debt report: Credit card balances highest since 2010 -- Balances on credit cards climbed to their highest mark in several years in the second quarter, according to a new government report, reinforcing other signs that card use is climbing as the economy strengthens ... (See Household debt)

What to do when your retail store card switches banks -- When a new bank issues your retail card, changes in the rewards and the card's terms can follow ... (See Retail card switch)

Subprime card applicants still facing tight credit -- The economy may be sunnier, but people with less-than-perfect credit are still getting a chilly reception from credit card issuers ... (See Lending standards)

Credit card delinquencies improve despite economic chill -- U.S. consumers improved their on-time payment performance on credit card bills during the first quarter, despite shrinkage in the economy ... (See Delinquency statistics)

Fed holds course but rate hike draws nearer -- APRs on variable rate credit cards will hold steady a while longer, as the Federal Reserve decided that the economy still needs support from cheap money ... (See FOMC)

Cities with the biggest, smallest credit card debt burdens -- People on the coasts aren't known for frugal living, but when you consider their income, they carry the lightest credit card debt ... (See City debt burden)

Citi refunding $700 million for credit card add-ons -- Regulators ordered Citibank to refund $700 million to 8.8 million cardholders for debt protection, credit monitoring and same-day payment fees ... (See Citi refund)

Fed survey: Credit card rejections plunge -- The share of card applicants who were rejected for a card in the past year fell to 13 percent from 20 percent, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said ... (See Fed survey)

Chase refunds $50 million in robo-signing settlement -- Chase agreed to refund money and drop thousands of court judgments it won against cardholders in poorly documented lawsuits ... (See Chase robo-signing settlement)

$7 million in refunds coming for card add-on products -- Consumer protection bureau tells credit monitoring vendors to reimburse customers who paid for services they didn't get ... (See Add-on product refund)

Consumer bureau expands complaint data -- Shoppers for financial services have a new trove of material to research, now that the U.S. consumer watchdog is publishing consumers' specific gripes about companies ... (See Complaints data)

FCC allows fraud alerts on cellphones -- The federal agency toughens rules against spam calls on cellphones, but creates an exception for banks to alert their customers to fraud ... (See Cellphone fraud alerts)

Fed gives cardholders reprieve on higher rates -- The Federal Reserve voted to keep a key interest rate at near-zero levels for now ... (more)

PayPal lending arm fined for deception, abuses -- PayPal Credit, formerly known as Bill Me Later, misled customers and ratcheted up their costs with unfair practices, consumer bureau charges ... (See PayPal fine )

US proposes anti-steering rules on campus cards -- A proposed federal rule restricts marketing and fees on campus-affiliated cards that are lucrative for the schools but not the best choice for students ... (See Campus cards)

NY Fed: Debt in collection shrinks -- The percentage of accounts in collections and the average size of those debts both shrank, according to new data from the New York Fed. ... (See Debt in collections)

Credit card balances rise in March -- Consumers' revolving debt load increased in March, ending two months of declining balances ... (See Fed consumer credit report)

With economy slacking, Fed leaves interest rates alone for now -- The economy slowed in the first quarter, giving the Federal Reserve room to hold interest rates at rock-bottom lows ... (See Fed leaves rates alone )

CFPB issues first fine for unauthorized overdraft fees -- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fined Regions Bank $7.5 million for failing to get customers' opt-in for overdraft coverage ... (See Overdraft fees)

Poll: Rewards cards take larger share of market -- Bankers' group says 83 percent of people with cards have at least one rewards card ... (more)

Payday loan alternatives more important than ever -- Having an alternative to high-priced payday lenders -- always a good idea -- could become more so if a federal crackdown shutters some storefronts ... (See Payday alternatives)

New rules proposed for payday loans -- The federal consumer watchdog is preparing rules that are expected to fight repeat payday loans without shutting borrowers off from quick cash ... (See Payday loans)

Fed signals step toward higher rates -- The Federal Reserve indicated that the countdown is ticking toward higher interest rates later this year ... (See Fed's loses patience)

Complaints data show which cards pay refunds most, least often -- A look at 14,000 credit card complaints sent to the federal consumer bureau shows big differences in how cards solve disputes ... (See Cards complaints data)

Study makes the case against credit card arbitration -- Millions of consumers have been forced to accept arbitration clauses in case of disputes, but few understand them, says a new study ... (See CFBP arbitration study)

Credit reports to raise standards to improve accuracy -- The big three credit bureaus will take steps to reduce errors on credit reports and improve the dispute process under a settlement announced Monday ... (See Credit report accuracy settlement)

Tougher rules coming for debt collectors -- Federal regulators are writing a major update of debt collection rules for the first time in decades, but the penalty will remain a wrist-slap ... (See Debt collection rules)

Judge: Merchants can steer you to lower-cost card -- Merchants should be allowed to offer consumers discounts or perks to use a lower-cost credit card, a federal court ruled ... (See American Express anitrust ruling)

Households staggering under student loans -- While problems with most other loans are easing, student loans are entering uncharted heights and late payments are surging, says new data ... (See Report: Student debt surging)

CFPB orders refunds for 98,000 subprime cardholders -- Cardholders of Continental Finance Co. are due refunds of excess fees that absorbed more than 25 percent of credit limit ... (See Continental Finance refunds)

Fed keeps rates low amid mixed economic signals -- The Federal Reserve indicated that it remains on course to hike interest rates later this year ... (See FOMC meeting Jan. 28, 2015)

FTC: Many credit report disputes go unresolved -- When a credit bureau rejects a complaint about an error, only 30 percent of people agree that their report is accurate ... (See FTC credit disputes report)

Road to rewards redemption gets easier -- Cardholders lose millions of dollars in rewards, but that could be changing after one big issuer lowers hurdles to claiming cash back ... (See Rewards redemption)

CFPB urges colleges to compare deals for student accounts -- Colleges that endorse a bank in return for a fee should take a hard look at the cost for students,federal watchdog agency says ... (See CFPB)

New protections from financial 'gotchas' in 2015 -- New rules coming in 2015 from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau should make it safer and less expensive to use plastic and other forms of consumer debt ... (See 2015 CFPB preview)

Card borrowing lags while student, auto loans soar -- Consumers are borrowing more to finance cards and college degrees, while credit card borrowing is stuck at 2003 levels, a Federal Reserve Bank of New York report shows ... (See Borrowing)

Fed: Countdown to higher rates continues at 'patient' pace -- Interest rate setters at the Federal Reserve signaled that near-zero market rates are approaching an end, but they'll not be rushed ... (See Fed 'patient' with rate hikes)

Campus card agreements continue shift from credit to debit -- Special deals to market credit cards on campus are declining, but other types of plastic -- which face less disclosure -- are gaining ... (See College cards)

CFPB moves to soften medical debt's impact -- It's unique among debts, so medical debt deserves to get special scrutiny, the federal consumer watchdog agency decides ... (See Medical debt)

What yield does your bank make on credit cards? -- Using 2013 federal bank data, we list 500 U.S. banks and show the percentage yield they make from credit card holders, before and after losses ... (See 500 banks' yields)

Banks that make the most money, and the least, on credit card loans -- The most costly card companies are ones you probably never heard of -- but whose cards you just might carry ... (See Yields)

Card applications fall among younger, lower-score consumers -- Fewer young people and people with low credit scores are applying for credit cards, according to a new consumer survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York ... (See Card applications survey)

Lessons from cities with the best and worst credit scores -- One city is known for college grads, the other for cotton and the Blues. Measured by credit score, Mankato, Minnesota, and Greenwood, Mississippi, are as far apart financially as they are culturally ... (See Best, worst scores)

New rules aim to tame prepaid cards -- The fee-laden cards, gaining in popularity, would have to disclose more about those fees under rules unveiled by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ... (See Prepaid rules)

Fed: banks ease grip on cards -- Just as banks are finally lowering their barriers to credit card ownership, consumers aren't so keen to accept them, says a new Fed survey of senior loan officers ... (See Banks loosen grip)

Fed ends special stimulus for economy -- The Federal Reserve announced the end of its bond-buying program, but signaled that it will keep its main lever on interest rates at near-zero levels ... (more)

Retailers push system to rival Apple Pay and other mobile wallets -- Two drugstore chains switched off support for Apple Pay, as a group of big retailers gets behind a rival system for checkout smartphone payments ... (See Mobile payments)

Rule makes privacy statements more meaningful -- Banks can skip mailing their privacy statements as long as they don't share your information in ways that are restricted by law ... (more)

Obama puts federal might behind chip-and-PIN card security -- A White House move to encourage the roll out of chip-and-PIN security strengthens the push for new weapons against data breaches and ID theft ... (See US goes chip-and-PIN)

Banks seek rule change to allow more cellphone fraud alerts -- Despite a plague of data breaches, banks fear lawsuits if they send fraud alerts via text messages and cellphone calls, according to an industry group ... (See Fraud alert texts)

Proposal would extend Military Lending Act to credit cards -- An overhaul of protections for soldiers would have a big impact on credit cards, but the proposal is heading for a fight with the banking industry ... (See Military lending)

Study reveals rewards cards' rise in popularity -- Rewards cards now make up a majority of new accounts and spending on cards, practically taking over the market, a bank industry report says ... (See Rewards cards rise)

U.S. Bank refunds $48 million for add-ons -- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau extended its crackdown on bank add-on products to U.S. Bank, which charged for credit protection products that consumers didn't always receive ... (See $48 million refund)

Fed holds course toward rate hike in 2015 -- The Federal Reserve indicated that it will keep interest rates at historic lows for the time being to support the job market, but higher rates are coming ... (See Sept. 17, 2014: Fed holds course)

Mobile payments raise consumer protection worries -- Consumer advocates worry a mobile finance boom will make it easier to snoop on your buying habits, or even clean out your mobile wallet ... (See Mobile protection)

Fed survey says consumers' card discipline is holding firm -- Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances finds that debt burdens remain in check long after the recession's plunge ... (See Survey of Consumer Finances)

CFPB warns card issuers: Reveal costs of 0% promotional offers -- No-interest promotions are costly for credit card users who lose the grace period and must pay interest on new purchases, regulators warned ... (See CFPB 0% offer warning)

Discover, AmEx tie for tops in customer satisfaction -- American Express, the perennial leader in J.D. Power's ranking, shares the top satisfaction score for the first time since the survey started in 2007 ... (See J.D. Power)

Capital One edits language allowing visits at home or work -- Capital One said it is dropping language in its general purpose card agreements allowing visits at home or work, but keeping those rights in store cards for now ... (See Cap One)

What to look for when committing to a campus card -- Regulations have changed how campus debit cards work so proceed with caution when signing up for a new account. ... (See Cards)

Federal watchdog slaps auto lender for credit report errors -- The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fined auto lender First Investors Financial Services Group Inc. for putting errors on thousands of consumers credit reports ... (See Fined)

NY Fed: Consumer debt up in Q2 -- Credit card loans and other nonhousing consumer debt rose, according to the quarterly analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York ... (See Household debt and credit)

Credit card complaints Q1 2014: a graphical look -- What are credit card users angry about? Billing disputes, say the complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in the first quarter of 2014 ... (See Complaints)

FICO 9 credit score formula lessens impact of medical debt -- People with paid-off debt or medical debts will see scores rise with the new FICO math, while others will receive lower marks ... (See FICO formula)

Virtual debt collection lets you negotiate, settle up online -- With a computer or a smartphone, you can review a claim, set up a monthly repayment plan or even cut a debt settlement deal with an algorithm ... (See Virtual collection)

Banks loosening grip on credit cards, says Fed survey -- Banks continue to get more generous with new cards, but subprime applicants still feel a chill, according to the Federal Reserve's quarterly survey of loan officers ... (See Senior loan offiicers' survey)

Fed holds course toward higher interest rates -- Zooming economic growth in the second quarter didn't prompt the Federal Reserve to hasten its pace toward an interest rate hike in 2015 ... (See FOMC meeting July 30, 2014)

How America pays: Fed study paints big picture of card trends -- How many credit cards are there? How many debit cards? How many checks do we write? The Federal Reserve's new payments study paints a statistical portrait of how we spend ... (See Payments study)

CFPB expands complaints system to prepaid cards, pawnshops -- The federal consumer watchdog significantly expanded its consumer complaints program to include an array of financial products found outside banks ... (See Complaints)

Fed: Card balances extend growth -- Balances on credit cards grew again in May, extending April's record-setting surge, the Federal Reserve said ... (See Consumer credit report, July 8, 2014)

Higher One grows to dominate college debit card market -- A little-known upstart has quickly grown to dominate the campus debit card business, but it is now drawing heat from Congress, regulators ... (See Higher One)

GE Capital to refund $225 million to 749,000 customers -- The No. 1 issuer of store credit cards is paying $225 million to 749,000 consumers, with most of the money going to Spanish-speakers excluded from debt relief offers ... (See GE Capital)

Fed shrugs at inflation, holds rates steady -- The Federal Reserve signaled that it will continue the cheap money policy that it has penciled on its calendar through sometime in mid-2015. ... (See FOMC holds rates steady)

CFPB seeks lower-cost ways to serve up mobile banking -- As banking moves to mobile devices, banking regulators want to make sure consumer protections and cost savings go along ... (See Mobile banking)

Card debt rises sharply in April -- Balances on credit cards soared at a 12.3 percent annual rate in April, extending March's modest gains despite consumers' continued reluctance to open their wallets, according to the Federal Reserve's monthly consumer credit report ... (See Consumer credit report: Card balances rise)

Card rates stuck while others drop -- Failure to shop around may be contributing to high credit card interest rates ... (See Card rates stuck)

MasterCard expands fraud protection -- MasterCard is extending its zero-liability policy to more card transactions and dropping restrictions on who is eligible -- putting pressure on Visa to follow suit ... (See Fraud)

FTC calls for data broker regulation -- Depending on your income, habits, health and ethnicity, data brokers may label you an Urban Scramble, Rural Everlasting, Truckin' & Stylin', Bible Lifestyle or Plus-Size Apparel ... (See FTC study)

CFPB: Credit scores for medical debt are unfair -- Study by consumer watchdog agency finds that medical debt collection weighs too heavily on people's credit scores ... (See Medical debt and credit scores)

Credit card balances post spring growth -- Card debt rose in March for the first time in 2014, as consumer spending surged ... (See consumer spending increase 2014)

Judgment-proof debtors have an imperfect shield -- If you are poor enough, a court judgment for debt has little threat. You're "judgment-proof," with wages and belongings shielded by law from collectors -- but that does not mean you can relax ... (See Judgment-proof debtors)

Settling a debt after a judgment -- Even after a judgment is entered against you, it is still possible to settle a debt for less than the court-determined amount -- maybe much less ... (See Settling debt after judgment)

Debt judgment may trigger bankruptcy -- Bankruptcy shields you from debt collectors, but comes with serious consequences that must be weighed ... (See Debt judgments and bankruptcy)

Court judgments for debt: Your options after the gavel -- A court judgment for debt can lead to seizure of wages and property, but there are steps to protect yourself after the decision comes down ... (See Judgments for debt: after the gavel)

Fed takes poor GDP in stride, leaves interest rates outlook unchanged -- The Federal Reserve maintained its course toward higher interest rates in 2015, downplaying a poor first-quarter showing by the economy ... (See Federal Reserve)

Bank of America to refund $727 million in add-on fees -- Bank of America becomes the fifth card-issuing bank to pay a hefty fine for over-hyping debt protection and credit monitoring services ... (See Refund)

Card debt falls in February -- Credit card users cut their balances sharply in February 2014, even as personal income rose, says the Federal Reserve's monthly consumer credit report ... (See Fed consumer credit report)

Wal-Mart sues Visa over swipe fees -- Wal-Mart has sued Visa for anticompetitive practices, targeting Visa's interchange fees or "swipe fees" that help support credit card rewards programs and cash-back deals for cardholder ... (See Wal-Mart sues Visa)

Fed holds course toward higher interest rates -- In the first policy meeting under its new leader, the Federal Reserve affirmed that short-term interest rates will begin rising next year ... (See FOMC meeting)

What interest rate increases will cost cardholders -- Consumers will pay up to $192 million more a month on their credit card balances starting this month, according to Federal Reserve data ... (See Rising card rates)

Medical card pays for endorsements -- GE Capital's CareCredit card pays dozens of professional societies to help market its high-rate health care credit card, raising questions that could cloud the doctor-patient relationship ... (See Medical card endorsements)

Card debt falls in January -- Card balances reversed direction and fell in January, as consumers got hit by harsh weather and expiring jobless benefits ... (See Card debt falls)

Credit cards that offer free credit scores -- A growing number of card issuers give you a no-cost way to watch the number crucial to your financial health ... (See Scores)

CFPB calls for free credit scores -- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has urged credit card issuers to make credit scores available to customers for free ... (See Consumers want free credit scores)

Attorney General Holder calls for national data breach disclosure law -- U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Congress should require businesses to tell customers promptly after hackers steal information ... (See data breaches national policy)

Capital One backs away from invasive debt collection policy -- Capital One will modify controversial terms saying it can visit cardholders, and denied spoofing its number on caller ID systems ... (See Capital One debt collections)

Surprise! Many credit card agreements allow repossession -- An analysis of the federal database of credit cards finds dozens include a 'security interest' clause that leaves the door open to the repo man ... (See Repossession)

Fed: Card balances leap in December -- Credit card balances rose even more than usual for the holiday season, posting a third month of growth ... (See Fed: Card balances rise a 3rd month)

Discover expands free FICO credit score program -- Discover cardholders will not only get a free credit score on their monthly statements, they'll have it explained to them, the company announced ... (See Free FICO)

Fed: banks keep tight grip on card loans -- Senior loan officers survey says demand for credit cards is greater than supply ... (See Demand for credit cards)

Mid-Atlantic complains most about credit card problems -- Washington, D.C., and neighboring states file the most complaints per capita about credit cards with the federal consumer financial regulator ... (See Complaints)

Fed holds off on rate increases -- The Federal Reserve announced no change in the short-term rates that affect credit card APRs and signaled that hikes will start beyond 2014 ... (See Federal Reserve)

CFPB: Credit card complaints decline in 2013 -- Consumers filed fewer complaints about credit cards with the federal consumer watchdog in 2013, but two big card issuers saw an increase in grumbles ... (See Complaints)

Fed: Card balances rise again -- Credit card balances bulged in November for a second month, as consumers' spending increased faster than their paychecks rose, the Federal Reserve said ... (See Card balances rise)

Credit card late fees could rise in 2014 -- The CFPB has added $1 to the amount that first-time offenders can be charged for a late credit card payment, raising it to $26 ... (See credit card late payment fees)

Fed: Banks modestly lower barriers to credit cards -- Banks are swinging open their vault doors wider for businesses, but consumers are seeing only slightly easier access to loans -- including credit cards ... (See Credit cards)

Credit card balances rise in March -- Consumers added credit card debt in March amid growing incomes and an improving job climate ... (See G.19)

AmEx makes refunds for add-on products -- Regulators ordered American Express to pay back customers for deceptive marketing and unfair billing of ID theft and identity protection products ... (See AmEx refunds add-on products)

Fed payments study: Signature cards more prone to fraud -- Credit cards and signature debit cards are the payment methods most susceptible to fraud, with online transactions at highest risk, the Federal Reserve said ... (See Fraud)

Fed starts 'taper,' begins weaning off support for low rates -- The Federal Reserve voted to pump less cash into low long-term rates, but held constant the short-term rates that set credit card APRs ... (See long-term and short-term rates)

CFPB report: Biggest card issuers push consumers into arbitration -- Few consumers use the dispute resolution format favored by banks, says a new report by the federal consumer watchdog ... (See Arbitration report)

CareCredit ordered to refund $34 million to cardholders -- GE Capital and its CareCredit unit agreed to refund $34.1 million to medical patients who got faulty information when they signed up for deferred interest cards ... (See CareCredit)

Fed: Credit card balances shot up October -- Consumers "tuned out the drama in DC" and went shopping in October, boosting credit card balances at an annualized rate of 6 percent, the Federal Reserve reported ... (See G.19 consumer credit report, October 2013)

Card issuers soften mandatory arbitration rules -- Signing away your right to go to court is part of most credit card agreements, but the CFPB is taking a look at mandatory arbitration requirements ... (See Mandatory arbitration)

FICO credit-score giveaway coming to Discover cardholders -- Discover's the latest bank to add free credit score access as a routine service, completing the route of the once-secret three-digit number to full public view ... (See Credit scores)

NY Fed: Household debt rise marks a 'turning point' -- Households increased their debt load in the third quarter by the largest amount since early 2008, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York ... (See Fed report: Borrowing returns)

How to use the grace period to avoid paying interest -- Taking advantage of the grace period's break on interest charges can save the typical card user a couple hundred bucks a year, but the savings aren't automatic ... (See Grace period)

Credit card balances extend their slide -- Credit card balances fell for a fourth month in a row in September, according to the Federal Reserve's monthly report on consumer credit ... (See G.19 consumer debt report, September 2013)

Fed: banks loosen credit limts -- Banks aren't rushing to grant more credit cards to new applicants, but they are being more generous about expanding credit limits ... (See Banks expand credit limits)

New complaint data zings credit bureaus -- Federal complaint data shows that consumers are often dissatisfied -- even when credit bureaus say they have addressed the problem ... (See Credit bureau complaints)

Fed keeps its foot on the gas -- The Federal Reserve's interest rate setting committee decided to maintain its measures aimed at keeping interest rates at historic lows ... (See Fed leaves rates alone)

How much can collectors increase charged-off debt? -- Courts are setting higher standards for debt buyers to prove their right to charge you interest after a bank has written off your debt ... (See Charged-off debt)

Government shutdown obstructs credit card applications -- The government shutdown has cut off IRS income verification services that lenders use to approve loans, including some credit cards ... (See Shutdown hits card apps)

Card debt fell in August -- Credit card balances were down in August for the third straight month, according to the Federal Reserve ... (See Card debt falls)

CFPB widens its debt settlement crackdown -- The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fined a service provider for handling illegal debt settlement fees, marking an expansion in its crackdown on scammers ... (See CFPB)

Credit CARD Act: Round 2 coming? -- A report from the federal consumer financial regulator says the CARD Act has cut gotcha-type fees, but other problems continue, and need to be addressed ... (See CARD Act report)

Study: CARD Act cut fees $20 billion -- A study of 150 million credit card accounts found that the CARD Act of 2009 cut fees sharply for cardholders, and subprime borrowers saw the most savings ... (See CARD Act study)

FTC says :( to debt collection text messages -- The FTC has brought its first case against a debt collector for using text messages, sending a message of its own about what collectors can and can't do ... (See FTC)

Feds fine Chase, order $309 million refund for credit card add-ons -- The megabank took the money for, but did not deliver, the credit monitoring add-on product it sold to its credit card customers, federal regulators say ... (See Chase refund)

Subprime borrowers have easier time getting car loans -- Unlike with credit cards, auto loans are becoming more available for borrowers with blemished credit ... (See Auto loans)

Fed maintains support for low interest rates -- The Fed left short-term rates that govern credit card APRs unchanged at near-zero levels. It also voted to maintain current support for low long-term rates such as mortgages, defying analysts' expectations ... (See FOMC)

Fed: Card balances fell in July -- Credit card balances fell in July, a time of sluggish consumer spending and languid job growth, the Federal Reserve reported. ... (See G.19)

CFPB: Consumers' side of credit disputes must be considered -- Federal regulators issued a stern warning for information furnishers to investigate disputed credit report data: Look at a consumer's side of the story ... (See CFPB)

Many pay an unexpected price for deferred-interest deals -- About 1 in 5 people who sign up for deferred interest deals on big-ticket items actually wind up owing finance charges ... (See Deferred interest trap)

Deferred-interest, 0-percent financing 'deals' costly for many -- About 1 in 5 people who sign up for 0-percent, deferred interest deals wind up owing accumulated finance charges ... (See Deferred interest)

NY Fed: debt squeeze eases on households -- While borrowing on cards increased, credit limits grew faster in the second quarter, leaving cardholders with more available spending power ... (See Debt and credit report)

Fed: Card balances fell in June -- Credit card balances were down in June, pulling back from a strong upward surge the month before, despite an increase in consumer spending ... (See G.19)

Fed: banks ease up on credit limits -- Banks remain wary about issuing new cards but are easing their grip on credit limits, the Federal Reserve's survey of bank loan officers reported ... (See Credit limits eased)

Swipe fee battle renewed after court ruling -- Merchants won a victory in their long-running battle with banks over debit card swipe fees, potentially raising consumer costs for checking-related services ... (See Merchant comsumer debit fees)

Credit reports now show your credit card bill-paying habits -- Credit bureaus add "trended data" to credit reports showing whether you carry a credit card balance, giving card issuers and others a more detailed portrait of your financial habits ... (See Trended data)

Card delinquencies hit 22-year low -- Credit card delinquencies hit their lowest levels since June 1990 during the first quarter of this year, reflecting a stronger economy and more frugal consumers, the American Bankers Association said. ... (See low credit card delinquent accounts)

Fed: Credit card balances spike in May -- Balances on credit cards were up in May, the Fed reported, as jobs and home values showed strength ... (See credit card balances up)

Fed signals that rate hikes remain in distant future -- The Federal Open Market Committee voted to keep interest rates at ultra-low levels amid speculation that stimulus measures are nearing a turning point ... (See rates remain low)

Credit CARD Act: The next generation -- The federal watchdog agency is reviewing the 2009 law's impact; consumer groups are urging a host of fixes, enhancements ... (See Post-CARD Act)

Fed: Card balances ticked up in April -- Balances on credit cards rose in April, marking a rebound from March, amid signs of improvement in jobs and housing. ... (See Card balances rise)

Credit report complaints highlight errors -- One out of five people who complained about their credit reports said they contain information that does not belong to them, according to newly released figures ... (See Credit report errors)

People are managing cards better, survey finds -- Americans are getting better at paying off their credit card bills and avoiding interest charges, but about a third are still struggling to pay more than the minimum ... (See Financial survey)

FTC targets cash-reload code scams -- The FTC has proposed banning telemarketers from taking payments via cash reload codes that are used to fund prepaid cards. The codes make it too easy for fraudsters to take cash without leaving a trace ... (See Cash reload)

NY Fed: Credit card balances reach new low -- Consumers resumed paying down their card balances in the first quarter of 2013, the New York Fed reported, and delinquencies improved ... (See NY Fed)

California blasts Chase for robo-signing -- California's attorney general accused Chase Bank of using false documents in court cases to collect credit card debts ... (See Chase robo-signing suit)

Infographic: How Robo-signing works in credit card debt -- When creditors mechanically and automatically certify that credit card debt is real without any documentary evidence, it's called robo-signing, and the practice is both widespread and controversial ... (See Robo-signing credit card debt)

Fed holds line on interest rates -- The Federal Reserve's rate-setting committee voted to continue its low-rate policy in the face of stubborn unemployment ... (See Federal Reserve low intrest rate)

CFPB changes stay-at-home spouse rule -- The federal government's consumer agency has finalized a rule change to make it easier for nonworking, stay-at-home spouses to get their own credit cards ... (See Stay-at-home spouses)

Card add-on products stage a comeback -- Add-on services like payment protection are expected to rebound from regulators' smackdown ... (See Card add-ons)

Feds crack down on payday loans, deposit advances -- Banks and storefront lenders will face new rules on small-dollar loans to protect borrowers ... (See Payday loan rules)

Fed study: Recession really changed our spending habits -- We didn't just have our credit cards taken away during the recession, we gave them up. So says a new New York Fed study, which says the historic drop in debt was at least partly the result of households tightening their belts ... (See Fed study)

Robo-signed collection cases under fire -- Practices that let debt buyers win collection judgments with just hurriedly signed affidavits appear headed for a major overhaul ... (See Robo-signed debt collection)

GAO: ATM surcharges climbing -- The average ATM surcharge at banks and credit unions is up 20 percent since 2007, not counting inflation, a GAO report says ... (See GAO study: ATM surcharges up 20%)

Fed: Card balances rise in February -- Credit card balances rose in February as consumer spending increased, despite the specter of pending budget cuts ... (See credit card balances up)

Expiration dates fuzzy on old card debt -- Card issuers' rules and conflicting legal rulings laws make it tough to tell when a consumer's debt ages past the statute of limitations ... (See Uncollectible debt)

Federal Reserve stays the course on interest rates -- The Federal Open Market Committee reaffirmed that ultra-low interest rates will continue in an effort to spur job growth ... (See Federal Reserve low interest rate job growth)

Consumer bureau faces court challenge -- A court ruling calls into question the recess appointment of CFPB director Richard Cordray, but experts expect a political solution ... (See Consumer Financial Protection Bureau)

Fed: Card balances rise in January -- Credit card balances rose in January, as a fiscal cliff cut in take-home pay and higher prices at gasoline pumps caused consumers to lean more on their plastic ... (See credit card balances up)

Credit card complaints zing companies -- Newly published complaint data give a look at card issuers' relationships with customers -- and which companies are likely to pay back a customer with a gripe ... (See Most complaints)

2012 credit card complaints reveal trouble hot spots -- Complaints sent to new federal database paint a nationwide mosaic of misery, and the complainingest people tend to have comfortably high incomes ... (See Card complaints)

Bankers' group says CARD Act raised rates, lowered credit access -- The 3-year-old federal credit card reform law is a mixed bag, banking lobby group says, but hurt consumers access to credit and raised rates ... (See CARD Act impact)

Executive pay at credit counseling agencies -- Their clients are at the brink of bankruptcy, but executives at some of the largest nonprofit credit counseling agencies are in the top 1 percent of U.S. earners ... (See CEO salaries at credit counseling agencies)

Feds bust sophisticated credit card ring that stole $200 million -- In a massive manipulation of the credit card system, a New Jersey-based fraud ring stole more than $200 million by creating 7,000 false identities and 25,000 bogus cards ... (See Credit card fraud)

Credit counseling agencies get bigger, but are they any better? -- A wave of consolidation is rapidly transforming credit counseling from locally based agencies to national call centers ... (See Big credit counseling agencies get bigger - but better?)

Choosing a credit counseling agency: 6 tips -- Nonprofit credit counseling agencies are bound by rules that guard against abuses. But some agencies can work better for you than others ... (See Credit counselors)

The business of credit counseling -- Nonprofit credit counselors benefit from a solid reputation but clients face high dropout rates and difficulty getting information ... (See Credit counselors)

Top 10 consumer credit counseling agencies -- Slideshow lists the 10 largest nonprofit consumer credit counseling agencies in the U.S. by revenue; their top executives, and executive pay ... (See Credit counselors)

FTC: Debt collectors often have skimpy info -- About 1 million U.S. consumers a year dispute debts, says a new FTC report, and no wonder: Collectors often have little info on what is owed ... (See Collectors' skimpy info)

Credit card surcharges now allowed, but retailers hesitate -- A court settlement gives retailers the right to recover "swipe fees" by charging extra for credit card use starting Jan. 27, but will they? ... (See Credit card surcharges)

Military gets tougher protections against high-rate loans -- Congress creates new enforcement powers for law that protects soldiers from high-rate loans ... (See Military)

Consumer bureau begins new look at credit card rules -- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau launched a call for comments as part of a study on the Credit CARD Act of 2009 ... (See CARD Act review)

Weekly Card Rates Report: Rates hold steady while consumer debt burden drops -- Interest rates on credit card offers held steady at 14.96 percent for a seventh week, according to the Weekly Credit Card Rate Report. ... (See Rate report)

Are overdrafts on prepaid cards a good deal or a debt trap? -- Overdraft programs on prepaid cards are sneaky, high-cost loans that should be outlawed, consumer advocates say. But some customers of the card company NetSpend couldn't disagree more ... (See Prepaid card overdraft)

FTC cracks down on mobile apps for kids -- Games and other mobile apps aimed at kids have come under fire for sharing information and allowing in-app charges without adequate disclosure ... (See Kids' mobile apps)

Your fiscal cliff: What to do now to prepare for a financial fall -- If we fall off a 'fiscal cliff,' do you know where you would land? Here's what to do now to prepare and soften the impact of expiring tax breaks, spending cuts ... (See Fiscal cliff)

Fiscal cliff calculator: figure your income tax hit -- This calculator lets you see what your federal income and Social Security taxes are now, and what they will be if we fall off the 'fiscal cliff' ... (See Fiscal cliff calculator)

Veterans face fiscal cliff -- In addition to the loss of pay, service members coming off active duty as the military shrinks will no longer be eligible for interest rate caps under the Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act ... (See Veterans)

Election results strengthen consumer protection -- Election wins by President Barack Obama and consumer rights firebrand Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts strengthen the hand of the fledgling Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, policy analysts said ... (See 2012 election)

FTC takes aim at 'robocall' scams -- The FTC announced a crackdown on robocalling violations amid a surge in complaints about the annoying and sometimes costly practice ... (See Telemarketing robocalls)

How to replace a lost, stolen or unwanted gift card -- The reason so many of us love gift cards -- they're a lot like cash -- is also the reason they can be hard to replace when they're stolen or lost. ... (See Replacing lost/stolen gift cards)

Statutes of limitation for credit card debt collection, all 50 states -- Creditors have a limited time in which to file suit over unpaid credit card debt. Here are the statutes of limitation for all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia ... (See Statutes of limitation for credit card debt)

Credit card arbitration: What it is, how it works -- Many large credit cards and most store cards require you to bring disputes to an arbitrator, an alternative to court, if you can't reach a solution with the company ... (See Credit card arbitration)

1099-C surprise: Canceled debt often taxable as income -- Many consumers aren't aware that forgiven credit card debt may be taxable income, and it shows up on an IRS 1099-C form ... (See 1099-C surprise)

Weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, advice, articles and tips delivered to your inbox. It's FREE.

Updated: 05-19-2019