Website aids consumers with credit card complaints

The Consumer Complaint Database breaks down the entries by bank, by categories, by zip code and more.
The Consumer Complaint Database breaks down the entries by bank, by categories, by zip code and more.

NEW YORK, NY (NBC) - A new federal website is designed to take complaints from people unhappy with their credit cards.

But what's the point?

Well for one, it gives you an idea of how many people are having the same problems as you. And, if you do need a new card, it might be a good place to start your search.

When it comes to our credit cards, we are often slow to change, reports Bob Hansen.

"I kind of just stick to one credit card," says one credit card holder.

Many consumers say they rarely change their credit cards or look into acquiring a different one.

"Once every 20 years, had the same credit card for many years," claims another user.

Being slow to change, however, doesn't mean we are always happy with our cards. In fact, the Federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau just launched a website that tracks complaints against the country's largest banks and their credit cards.

"Where you can actually go in as a consumer into the database and see the complains that have been filed by other credit card users," explains David Ely, Finance Professor.

The Consumer Complaint Database breaks down the entries by bank, by categories, by zip code and more. There's no personal names used, and only one line if it's been resolved or not. This is by no means a complete report.

Ely adds, "It is some information, but users need to understand that it's not a full picture of the credit card industry."

Never-the-less, San Diego State Financial Professor David Ely says it could encourage big banks to resolve more consumer complaints.

"No issuer wants to be identified as the institution that has the most complaints filed against it," claims Ely.

While it's important to read those complaints, it may not be the first thing you want to look at if you're considering changing credit cards.

"I think I would definitely check out the benefits. I know some credit cards have cash back," says one consumer of their credit card needs.

"One that has good security, internet security," identifies another.

And none of that information is in the database. It does show that the number one consumer complaint is billing disputes followed by interest rates, account cancellations and credit reports.

While it's credit cards now, the database could expand to include complaints about mortgages and other financial products.

As you can imagine, the bigger the bank, the more complaints they have against them because they issue the most cards.

So, at the top of the list: Capital one, Citibank, Chase and Bank of America. The new website allows you to review the complaints, or submit one of your own.

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