NEW YORK CITY -- The U.S. government has launched an online database of consumer complaints about credit cards.
Consumers can view the types of complaints people have filed against any bank that issues credit cards. The database also allows them to search grievances by ZIP code and see how the banks responded. Personal information is not included in the database.
The database, which went live on June 19, is maintained by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which created the CFPB, gave the agency the authority to make public information about consumer financial products and services.
The agency will use the database to track complaints and identify cards that carry hidden or poorly disclosed fees. It's also encouraging consumers to use the information to research financial products they might use.
"Each and every time we hear from American consumers about their troublesome transactions with financial products, it gives us important insight," said CFPB director Richard Cordray. "The information helps us and it should be available to help others, too. By making our data publicly available, initially in the area of credit cards, we hope to improve the transparency and efficiency of this essential consumer market."
The database currently includes credit card complaints received by the agency since June 1, 2012. It intends to add retroactive data by the end of the year.
The CFPB said it hopes to extend the database to cover other financial products like debit cards, mortgages and student loans.