If you're a Discover, American Express or Capital One credit card holder, you may see your balance shrink in the coming months. And not because you dutifully paid down debt.
Those three companies are refunding a whopping $435 million to some 6 million customers between now and March, thanks to the government crackdown on deceptive credit card practices.
Don't worry about filling out complex paperwork to collect. A credit will show up on your statement if you're a current cardholder. Checks will go out in the mail for former cardholders, or if there's a balance, it will be reduced by the refund, according to a CNN report.
Though you won't get rich, you can still thank the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for the retribution. The CFPB, whose mission is to educate the public and enforce laws that protect consumers, is behind the stepped-up efforts to stamp out credit card abuses.
[Click here to calculate paying off your credit card.]
A spokeswoman for American Express, which owes $85 million to about 250,000 cardholders, says the company began issuing refunds in October and expects to finish up in March, according to CNN.
American Express was fined by the CFPB for charging higher late fees than were legally allowed and for falsely promising customers monetary rewards. For example, if you signed up for American Express Centurion Bank's "Blue Sky" credit card to get the $300 bonus that was advertised, and you never received it, you will now - in the form of a refund.
Capital One is to refund $140 million to 2 million customers for misleading them about deals when they opened credit cards, according to the CFPB. The card company says it will send out refunds, most of them for under $100, beginning next month.
Discover was ordered to pay $200 million to more than 3.5 million cardholders it misled when telemarketers sold them "add-ons" such as identity theft protection, credit score tracking, wallet protection and payment protection. Those refunds will go out in January and February, CNN quoted a spokesperson as saying.
To file a complaint about credit card practices with the CFPB, click here, or call 855-411-2372 toll-free.
Photo credit: The Comedian via flickr.com