Got a gripe about your credit card? Get ready to be heard around the country.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau launched a new database Tuesday that's devoted to collecting consumer complaints against credit card companies-for all to see.
If you post a gripe, your name will be kept in confidence but the credit card issuer's name and the nature of the complaint will be visible to people conducting searches on the site. The database will also disclose how the card issuer handled the complaint. (Banks and other financial institutions have 15 days to respond and 60 days to address the problem).
The database is intended to help consumers identify repeated problems with specific card issuers so they can make more informed choices.
"By making our data publicly available . . . we hope to improve the transparency and efficiency of this essential consumer market," says Richard Cordray, director of the bureau.
The database will eventually expand to include complaints about mortgages, student and other consumer loans, and checking and savings accounts.
Since last July, the CFPB says it has collected some 45,000 complaints.
-Credit card billing disputes.
-Mortgages and issues related to loan modifications, collections, or foreclosure.
- Bank products and gripes about services.
But the bureau has only now started to make these publicly available.
Meanwhile, industry groups say they're concerned about the openness of the database because some of the gripes from consumers may not be legitimate or accurate.
Fred Becker, CEO of the National Association of Federal Credit Unions, says he fears that the database "may open the door to frivolous and unsubstantiated complaints."
But Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group, praised the new database as a win for consumers shopping around for the best issuers of credit cards and other financial products.