Credit Cards: Customized Minimum Payment Disclosures Would Provide More Information to Consumers, but Impact Could Vary

GAO-06-434 Published: Apr 21, 2006. Publicly Released: Apr 24, 2006.
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The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 requires that credit card issuers (issuers) include in all cardholder billing statements a generic warning, or "disclosure," about the potential financial consequences of consistently making only the minimum payment due on a credit card. However, some have urged that consumers should instead receive "customized" disclosures in their billing statements that use cardholders' actual balances and the applicable interest rates on their accounts to show the consequences of making only minimum payments, such as estimates of the time required to repay balances and the total interest amount resulting from continual minimum payments. In response to a congressional request, this report assesses the (1) feasibility and cost of requiring issuers to provide cardholders with customized minimum payment information, (2) usefulness of providing customized information to cardholders, and (3) options for providing cardholders with customized or other information about the financial consequences of making minimum payments.

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