“Many financial institutions obscure the true price of their services by luring customers with enticing offers and then charging excessive junk fees,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. “By promoting competition and ridding the market of illegal practices, we hope to save Americans billions.”
Companies across the U.S. economy are increasingly charging inflated and back-end fees to households and families. This new “fee economy” distorts our free market system by concealing the true price of products from the competitive process. For example, hotels and concert venues advertise rates, only to add “resort fees” and “service fees” after the fact. And fees purportedly charged to cover individual expenses, like paperwork processing, can often greatly exceed the actual cost of that service.
The CFPB’s research has found several areas where back-end fees might obscure the true cost of a product and undermine a competitive market:
In 2019, the major credit card companies charged over $14 billion each year in punitive late fees.
In 2019, bank revenue from overdraft and non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees surpassed $15 billion .
The CFPB will strive to strengthen competition in consumer finance by using its authorities to reduce these kinds of junk fees. To craft rules, issue industry guidance, and focus supervision and enforcement resources to achieve this goal, the CFPB is seeking input from the public. Public comments provide valuable insights that allow the CFPB to target the most pressing needs and concerns, including uncovering potential illegal practices or fees.
The CFPB is interested in hearing about people’s experiences with fees associated with their bank, credit union, prepaid or credit card account, mortgage, loan, or payment transfers, including:
Fees for things people believed were covered by the baseline price of a product or service
Unexpected fees for a product or service
Fees that seemed too high for the purported service
Fees where it was unclear why they were charged