The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is preparing to call it a junk fee – adding billions to the late payment charges, hotel resort fees and other take-on costs that Americans collectively pay for goods and services.
“Junk fees make it difficult for us to choose the best product or service because the true cost is hidden,” Rohit Chopra, the bureau’s director, told a news conference on Wednesday. Such a fee. Such a request is a formal first step in the long process of creating new rules for financial service providers.
Mr. Chopra said his agency is particularly interested in areas where providers operate in a lockstop – for example, the $ 25 to $ 35 fees that many credit card companies charge for overdue payments, giving them an estimated 14 billion annually. Is. The balance transfer fee is another focus: consumers transferred $ 35 billion in 2020, charging a fee that averaged 3 percent.
Bureau officials also cited service fees charged by concert ticket providers and resort fees levied by hotels as areas of concern.
The junk-fee request is the latest move by the Consumer Bureau to focus on the charges levied on users. In December, the agency released an annual report of $ 15 billion that banks collect in overdrafts and insufficient funding fees. Under regulatory pressure, banks are withdrawing them: Bank of America recently said it would raise its fees from $ 35 to $ 10, and Capital One and Ally Financial have eliminated them altogether.
Mr. Chopra said on Wednesday that the changes were “progress, but not enough.”
The agency has set a March 31 deadline for comments on the so-called junk fee. Bureau officials said they intend to move quickly toward legislation, but they also suggested that the issue be addressed throughout Mr. Chopra’s five-year term, which runs until 2026.