Credit Card Industry to See New Regulations and Higher Interest Rates in 2017

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CreditCardForum industry expert makes four bold predictions that will occur to the current credit card landscape.

Leading credit card industry expert Ben Woolsey today released predictions the credit markets will likely experience in 2017. Consumers will find more contactless payment options, as well as the possibility of higher APR’s and some changes in credit card regulations. Woolsey is the president and general manager of CreditCardForum, the premier one-stop resource for and by consumers seeking in-depth information, opinions and advice on credit cards. After closely monitoring the credit market through 2016, Woolsey has highlighted four changes that will impact consumers in the coming months.

“First, regulations governing credit cards will begin to be relaxed due to the potential repeal of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act and resulting change in the regulatory climate,” said Woolsey.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was created to supervise financial institutions and enforce consumer financial laws. One particular law that is enforced by the CFPB is the Credit CARD Act. This law has two main purposes: to limit issuers’ ability to raise interest rates without notice and impose certain fees (like for late payments or being over the credit limit) and to make rates and fees on credit cards more transparent for consumers.

While Republicans may be reluctant to get rid of the agency all together in the aftermath of the Wells Fargo scandal, it is expected Congress will change CFPB’s management structure to operating under a slower-moving commission rather than a single director, a pretext for weakening consumer protections in general.

“Second, APRs will go up by 25 basis points at least once, perhaps twice, more due to inflation-controlling actions by the Federal Reserve to react to record-high employment levels,” said Woolsey.

Interest rates in 2017 will be effected by the Federal Open Market Committee decisions that were made in December. Since September, both the labor market and economic activity has been improving. Unemployment rates are remaining steady, and job growth continues as household spending slowly improves.

“The Federal Reserve’s raising of interest rates is expected by the markets,” said Woolsey. “Of all the lending rates, credit card rates tend to be among the highest, so consumers would be wise to pay off outstanding credit card balances as soon as they can before the changes are implemented.”

“Third, the subprime credit card market will greatly expand as issuers find new permissible – and regain access to formerly banned – ways to profit from this underserved consumer segment,” said Woolsey.

The CFPB helps prevent predatory lending, especially to those in the subprime markets, and makes it easier for consumers to understand all terms of a credit agreement. Efforts to repeal Dodd-Frank could spur more lending, including by smaller community banks, but at a potential cost of less transparency and protections for consumers. This potential scale back on federal oversight for certain industries will boost spending in ways that will mostly benefit issuers and not the subprime consumer.

“Lastly, contactless credit card payment capabilities will be added to a growing list of smart watches and potentially to some fitness tracker wearable devices,” said Woolsey.

The technology is still new, but gradually, contactless payments have been experiencing some heavy adoption rates. Consumers eagerly embrace the speed and convenience it allows. Busy merchants have found that lines have slowed due to the recent implementation EMV chip readers, even as the credit card companies have worked to speed up transactions. Consumers are now looking for faster options, and contactless payments are the likely answer.

“As more merchants implement POS systems that accept this new form of payment technology, it paves the way for the next-generation of digital and mobile payments,” said Woolsey.

Additionally, wearable technology is growing, too, as fitness technology and smartwatches become more sophisticated. Companies testing wearable devices are expected to become more prominent in 2017.

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About CreditCardForum
CreditCardForum is the premier one-stop resource for and by consumers seeking in-depth information, opinions and advice on credit cards that also allows for immediate comparison and application to preferred cards.

Since 2008, the site has been the leading online community dedicated to consumer-driven education on the credit card industry. The user-contributed forum is enhanced by a hosted blog that covers latest industry developments that help consumers make more informed decisions regarding their credit cards. It also serves as a repository for key market data from multiple sources that provides a snapshot of the industry, backed by experts in the financial services and banking arena.

CreditCardForum is the go-to site for thousands of credit-card users each week seeking information and constructive peer-to-peer engagement with the aim of strengthening their financial bottom line.

Media Notes: To schedule an interview with CreditCardForum.com President & General Manager Ben Woolsey, please contact Leverage PR Account Executive Amy Palmer at amy(at)leverage-pr(dot)com or (512) 502-5833.

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Amy Palmer
Leverage PR
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