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This Week in Credit News: The CFPB Faces a Fight

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This week was relatively quiet in credit card news, with the biggest highlight coming Wednesday when the banking industry spoke out against a consumer review site proposed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

What’s prompting the industry’s concern, and will we be seeing more pushback against CFPB policies? Keep reading to find out!

Plan to Disclose Credit Card Complaints Faces Opposition

A story from USA Today is causing quite a stir as it looks like the CFPB will face off with the banking industry over a new website that would track complaints against credit card issuers.

The proposed website would be public and searchable, something that many banks and credit unions said they oppose.

“Until somebody has had a chance to sort though it and figure out what’s valid and invalid, it’s a gossip column,” Carol Kaplan, a spokeswoman for the American Bankers Association, told the publication. Kaplan even likened the proposed site to Yelp, the user-sourced consumer review site.

The CFPB would not be the first government agency to use a website to solicit and publish consumer complaints, the article states. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Consumer Product Safety Commission both have online complaint sites.

The Pew Charitable Trusts are on the case of checking account fees and transparency with its project Safe Checking in the Electronic Age and the organization updated the public on its most recent findings this week.

The report found that banks and other financial institutions don’t clearly and concisely state the terms of checking account agreements so that customers fully understand the fees and can compare account terms among different institutions. Not only were overdraft fees not explained clearly enough, they had also increased over the course of the study.

The Pew Trusts are recommending legislation that would make account forms more consumer-friendly and also foster a competitive marketplace. What does that mean for consumers? Fee statements that are uniform and easy to compare from one bank to the next.

You may be tying the knot, but do you want to be tied to your new spouse’s debt problems? Probably not.

Luckily, our consumer credit expert Tom Quinn is on the case and gave four fantastic tips for newlyweds (or soon-to-be-newlyweds) on how to get their credit under control both separately and together. One of the most liked tips on Twitter was the idea that spouses make the process of improving their scores a healthy competition by setting goals and trying to beat one another.

Quinn also advises newly married couples to remember that keeping their old accounts open is important, even if they want to open a joint account together or stop spending on certain credit cards. Closing accounts can affect your account history, which is an important factor in your credit score.

Image: NS Newsflash, via Flickr

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