February 2016

January 2016 Complaint Snapshot: "Other Financial Services"

2 min

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued its January 2016 Complaint Snapshot. The Snapshot's national focus covers "other financial service" complaints, a miscellaneous category of consumer complaints that are not specific to any individual financial product, service, or issue. "Other financial services" complaints include complaints regarding debt settlement, check cashing, credit repair, refund anticipation checks, and money orders.

The Bureau's general findings include the following:

  • As of January 1, 2016, the CFPB handled approximately 790,000 complaints nationally, including approximately 20,300 complaints in December 2015. For December 2015, debt collection continued to be the most complained-about financial product or service, representing about 31% of complaints submitted.
  • Debt collection remains one of the most complained-of consumer financial services – the Bureau has noted this to be a consistent trend for the past 28 months. According to the CFPB, debt collection complaints, together with complaints about credit reporting and mortgages, collectively represented about 68% of the complaints submitted in December 2015.
  • Prepaid card-related complaints increased by the greatest percentage based on a three-month average examined by the Bureau, increasing roughly 233% from last year. Complaints increased from 138 complaints in 2014 to 459 complaints in 2015 (within the three-month period).
  • Student loan complaints showed the greatest percentage decrease based on a three-month average, decreasing about 14% from the same time last year. Complaints during those periods decreased from 582 complaints in 2014 to 499 complaints in 2015.

Findings regarding "other financial service" complaints include the following:

  • Since July 19, 2014, the CFPB has handled approximately 2,700 other financial service complaints, representing about 0.3% of total complaints.
  • The most common products complained about were debt settlement (47%) and check cashing (14%). The most common issues identified by consumers were problems with fraud or scams (46%) and customer service or relations (21%).
  • Complaints about debt settlement or credit repair often involved reports of upfront fees being charged, and more than 26% mentioned student loans.
  • According to the Bureau, consumers who submitted check cashing complaints frequently mentioned high costs or inability to cash checks, often because of recommendations made by check authorization and warranty companies.

To explore CFPB's previous complaint snapshot focus areas, check out these articles:

Money Transfer Service Complaints Under the CFPB Spotlight

CFPB Complaint Snapshot Highlights Bank Accounts

CFPB October 2015 Complaint Snapshot: Credit Cards

CFPB Monthly Complaint Snapshot – Month of Mortgages

CFPB Releases Monthly Complaint Snapshot of Consumer Trends

CFPB Captures Trends Through New Monthly Complaint Snapshot