Updated November 13, 2013

Survey: Consumer Protection Statistics

Americans want more rules imposed on financial services, as long as costs don't rise

An overwhelming majority of Americans support increased government regulation of lending institutions, including banks, credit card issuers, and mortgage lenders, according to a new CreditDonkey.com survey. However, when asked if they support specific regulations currently on the table in Washington, such as those proposed by the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), not as many consumers put their hands up. And when asked if they'd be willing to pay higher fees and interest rates in exchange for more protection, the respondents were split in half.

Of the 729 credit cardholders surveyed, 83.6% favor increased regulation of banks, 79.6% support more regulation of credit card companies, and 75.9% believe mortgage lenders should be subject to more oversight.

This survey presents an interesting irony. While a large majority of respondents would like increased regulation, 62.7% of them had never heard of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, even though this agency is spearheading the latest efforts to protect consumers from lending abuses.

In my opinion, these services should be subject to
In my opinion, these services should be subject to © CreditDonkey

Have you heard of the FTC/CFPB?
Have you heard of the FTC/CFPB? © CreditDonkey

When asked if they support a proposed rule to make it easier for non-working spouses and partners to obtain credit cards, 52% said yes. But that number plummeted to 30% when they were asked if they would support the change in return for higher fees or interest rates.

Do you favor rules that would make it easier for non-working spouses and partners to obtain credit c
Do you favor rules that would make it easier for non-working spouses and partners to obtain credit c © CreditDonkey

Would you favor rules that would make it easier for non-working spouses and partners to obtain credi
Would you favor rules that would make it easier for non-working spouses and partners to obtain credi © CreditDonkey

Almost 94% of respondents favor a proposed rule that would force pre-paid debit card issuers to make their fees and terms disclosures easier to understand, but that support dwindled to 50% when they were asked if they’d still back the rule if it came with steeper fees.

Do you favor new rules that would force prepaid debit card issuers to make their fees and terms disc
Do you favor new rules that would force prepaid debit card issuers to make their fees and terms disc © CreditDonkey

Would you favor rules that would force prepaid debit card issuers to make their fees and terms discl
Would you favor rules that would force prepaid debit card issuers to make their fees and terms discl © CreditDonkey

When people were asked if they favor a proposed rule that would force prepaid debit card issuers to limit consumer liability for unauthorized transactions, 83% said yes. Once again, however, that support diminished when higher fees were added to the mix – with just 51% still liking the proposal.

Would you favor new rules that would force prepaid debit card issuers to limit consumer liability fo
Would you favor new rules that would force prepaid debit card issuers to limit consumer liability fo © CreditDonkey

Would you favor new rules that would force prepaid debit card issuers to limit consumer liability fo
Would you favor new rules that would force prepaid debit card issuers to limit consumer liability fo © CreditDonkey

These poll results remind us of surveys on the federal deficit. In theory, most Americans support measures to limit federal spending and pay down the national debt – until specific programs are targeted for cuts.

Another key finding concerns “swipe fees” – the fees credit card issuers charge merchants to process payments. A recent legal settlement between credit card issuers and merchants may cause more retailers to pass along these surcharges to customers. When asked how they would respond if merchants charged a “convenience fee” for credit card payments, 70% of those surveyed said they would switch to cash or debit cards to make the purchases, with just 9.1% continuing to use a credit card. Another 20.9% said they wouldn’t buy anything from these merchants.

If merchants charge you a convenience fee to pay by credit card, will you usually
If merchants charge you a convenience fee to pay by credit card, will you usually © CreditDonkey

(From January 15 to January 22, 2013, CreditDonkey surveyed 729 credit card holders about their experiences with credit card issuers and consumer lenders in general, as well as their opinions of various regulations proposed.)

Charles Tran is the founder of CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and financial education website. Write to Charles Tran at charles@creditdonkey.com. Our data-driven analysis has been recognized by major news outlets across the country and has helped families make savvy financial and lifestyle decisions. (read more)

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