Trade groups: Removing late charge ‘safe harbor’ might damage customers

Late charges for monetary items, when charged properly, incentivize prompt payment and excellent monetary management, ABA and 3 other monetary trade groups informed the CFPB in reaction to an ask for details today. Conversely, setting late charges too low ways “consumers are more likely to pay late and miss payments, leading to lower consumer credit scores, reduced credit access, and higher credit costs,” they included.

Under the CARD Act, charge card late charges need to be “reasonable and proportional” to the expenses sustained by the provider as an outcome of a late payment, unless the bank rather counted on a safe harbor limitation set by regulators. In 2010, the Federal Reserve authorized carrying out guidelines for the CARD Act that set charges at $30 for a late payment and $41 for each subsequent late payment within the next 6 billing cycles, based on a yearly inflation modification. In the years given that, CFPB has actually changed the safe harbor quantity based upon yearly modifications in the weighted Consumer Price Index.

The groups highlighted that minimizing or removing this safe harbor might eventually damage customers, and would have especially unfavorable results on little organizations with less than $750 million in possessions.  “[I]f late fees are not set at an appropriate amount to cover issuers’ costs, effectively encourage on‐time payments and mitigate the risks associated with late payments, issuers may have to rebalance the risks to their credit portfolios in other ways,” they stated. “This could include reducing credit lines, tightening standards for new accounts and raising annual percentage rates and fees for all cardholders, including those who pay on time.”

The associations suggested that the CFPB keep the present guideline, however needs to the firm continue with extra rulemaking concerning charge card charges, they prompted it to guarantee that any suggested allowed charges represent the expenses sustained by companies associated with late payments, the deterrent impact of late charges, and the conduct of the cardholder as needed under the Truth in Lending Act, the associations stated.


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