U.S. Bank refunds $48 million for add-ons

Customers paid for credit protection that wasn't delivered

About 420,000 customers of U.S. Bank will share refunds totaling $48 million for credit protection they did not receive, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced Thursday.

Bank add-on products prompt crackdown, refunds

The bank's service provider billed customers for add-ons called "Privacy Guard" and "Identity Secure" before customers gave the written authorization necessary to monitor their credit, the agency said in a consent order. The products were offered with credit cards, mortgage loans and checking accounts.

"We have consistently warned companies about practices related to add-on products and we will do what is necessary to prevent further harm to consumers," CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a statement.

Without admitting wrongdoing, the Minneapolis-based bank also agreed to pay fines of $5 million to the CFPB and $4 million to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, in addition to making refunds.

It was the CFPB's seventh crackdown against bank add-on products since 2012, and the smallest in terms of refunds. Most recently in June, the agency ordered GE Capital, now called Synchrony, to refund $225 million, of which $56 million involved the company's debt cancellation add-on product. All told, the seven card-issuing financial institutions have been ordered to repay $1.7 billion to about 12 million customers for add-on marketing federal regulators considered deceptive (see chart, "Costly deception: Refunds for credit card add-on marketing").

U.S. Bank customers who paid for credit monitoring they did not receive will get refunds for the over-limit fees and interest that were sometimes triggered by charges for the add-on product, as well as for the charges themselves.

Service provider Affinion administered the add-ons from 2003 to about August 2012, according to the CFPB order. During this time, U.S. Bank customers who had not provided written authorization for credit monitoring were billed for the service anyway.

"Consumers may have been under the impression that their credit was being monitored for fraud and identity theft, when in fact these services were either not being performed at all, or were only partially being performed," the CFPB statement said.

Affected customers who still have an account at U.S. Bank are supposed to receive a credit, the agency said. Ex-customers should receive a check in the mail. People who are due refunds do not need to make a claim or take other action, according to the CFPB. The average refund amount is about $114.

U.S. Bank representatives did not immediately respond to questions about the status of the refund program, or whether credit monitoring is still offered. The order requires U.S. Bank to form a compliance committee to oversee the refunds, and bars the bank from obtaining a tax deduction or insurance payment to offset the fines paid to regulators.

Card issuer Refunds Announced Customers given refunds
Discover $200 million 9/24/2012 3,500,000
Capital One $150 million 7/18/2013 2,000,000
Chase $309 million 9/19/2013 2,100,000
American Express $59.5 million 12/4/2013 335,000
Bank of America $727 million 4/9/2014 2,900,000
Synchrony Bank $225 million 6/19/2014 749,000
U.S. Bank $47.9 million 9/25/2014 420,000
Totals $1.718 billion   12,004,000

Join the discussion
We encourage an active and insightful conversation among our users. Please help us keep our community civil and respectful. For your safety, do not disclose confidential or personal information such as bank account numbers or social security numbers. Anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

If you are commenting using a Facebook account, your profile information may be displayed with your comment depending on your privacy settings. By leaving the 'Post to Facebook' box selected, your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below.

The editorial content on CreditCards.com is not sponsored by any bank or credit card issuer. The journalists in the editorial department are separate from the company's business operations. The comments posted below are not provided, reviewed or approved by any company mentioned in our editorial content. Additionally, any companies mentioned in the content do not assume responsibility to ensure that all posts and/or questions are answered.

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

Updated: 03-26-2019