News Column

Oklahoma credit card users complain to federal regulators less than national average

August 15, 2014

By Paul Monies, The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City

Aug. 15--Oklahoma credit card users are less likely to complain about their credit card companies than customers in other states, according to an analysis of complaint data to federal regulators.

In 2013, credit card customers in Oklahoma filed 2.2 complaints per 100,000 residents with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, compared to the national average of 4.1. The analysis was done by ValuePenguin, which researches the features and performance of credit cards.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was established following the global financial crisis that began in 2007. The federal agency -- set up by the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 -- began collecting consumer complaints about financial services in 2012.

ValuePenguin found residents of the District of Columbia complained the most about their credit cards in 2013, with a rate of 14 complaints per 100,000 residents. Mississippi and North Dakota residents had the lowest rates, at less than 1.5 complaints per 100,000 residents.

Among the six largest banks studied, Capital One and Citibank had the highest complaint rates, ValuePenguin found. They were followed by Bank of America, Discover, Chase and Amex. To get the complaint rates, ValuePenguin divided the number of complaints in 2013 by the card issuers' total purchase volume.

More than 13,100 complaints about credit cards were filed with the federal agency in 2013. Most complaints were over billing disputes, but others covered fraud, interest rates, account closures and rewards programs.

The federal agency contacts credit card companies about the complaints it receives and attempts to broker a solution. Resolutions can be monetary relief, non-monetary relief or explanations.

"As nice as it is to understand the reason behind each issue, cardholders would probably prefer some monetary relief, such as a refund," ValuePenguin said in its analysis.

ValuePenguin found Citibank resolved disputes most frequently with refunds, with 34 percent of its complaints handled that way. That compared to the average of 24 percent.

The median amount of a refund was $125, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Late fees were the complaint most likely to get consumers a refund, with Capital One, Citibank and Chase being the most lenient among the six largest banks.

"Chances are consumers already contacted their credit card companies first about the issue, and received an explanation or unsatisfactory treatment," ValuePenguin said. "By taking the extra step of formally complaining to the CFPB, we assume that they're looking for additional action, such as a refund or some other financial consideration."


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Source: Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City)

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