WASHINGTON, June 30, 2000 --Ralph Nader today called on federal bank regulators and the Federal Trade Commission to come up with a "credit card bill of rights" for consumers.
Noting that Providian Financial Corporation of San Francisco, a major credit card issuer, had entered into a settlement agreement with regulators involving fines and restitution of more than $300 million, Nader said the agreement should not obscure the need for the regulators to broaden their investigation into other companies in the credit card industry.
"A single agreement with one company will not cure the ills of the credit card industry," Nader said.
Nader said there was an overriding need for the regulators to establish industry-wide criteria for fairness, accuracy and completeness in solicitations for credit card customers. Nader, the Green Party candidate for President, urged George W. Bush and Albert Gore to join him in the effort to improve regulation of the credit card industry.
"Consumers nationwide are being bombarded with credit card solicitations promising introductory low interest rates and fees which overnight turn into cards bearing usurious rates and growing fees and hidden charges for unwanted and unneeded services," Nader said. "Regulators should track, publicize and force correction of these 'come-on' practices."
"The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and other financial regulators along with FTC should establish a 'credit card bill of rights' that would spell out consumer protections, identify unfair and deceptive marketing practices and require ongoing disclosures of companies that engage in these practices," Nader said. "In addition, the regulators should publish by company the rates, fees, billing and related practices that would allow consumers to comparative shop for the best credit card."
Nader said the data should be updated and available on a quarterly basis to
the public for companies in each of the 50 largest markets in the United
States. In addition, Nader said, the companies should be required to
include the compilation of the comparative data in all solicitations of
credit card customers.