On May 25, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) published a blog post, examining what it describes as the “practice of suppressing payment data.”

Per the blog post, the CFPB alleges that its research conducted in 2020 “uncovered that only about half of the largest credit card companies contribute data to credit reporting companies about the exact monthly payment amounts made by borrowers.” As a result, the CFPB reported that it has sent letters to the CEOs of “the nation’s biggest credit card companies,” asking them to explain this practice.

The letter alleges that “several large credit card companies have not been populating the actual payment amount field on credit card accounts regularly furnished to the nationwide credit reporting agencies.” Without this information, the CFPB worries it may be more difficult for lenders to price credit and offer the best valued credit offers and loans for consumers.

While there is no statutory obligation under the Fair Credit Reporting Act requiring a company to report consumers’ account data to consumer reporting agencies, the CFPB would like to better understand the reasoning behind the alleged practice of companies choosing not to report monthly payment information. To do this, the CFPB is asking these credit card companies five questions, with a requested 30-day turnaround.

  1. If actual payment was a field your company previously furnished regularly or consistently since 2012, but no longer does, what was the rationale and decision process behind that change?
  2. If actual payment was a field your company has never regularly or consistently furnished, or has not done so since 2012 or earlier, has there been a rationale for that practice? If so, please describe.
  3. If actual payment is a field your company furnishes today for some, but not all, of your card account products, please describe the rationale and circumstances for this practice.
  4. Are there material barriers that would prevent including the actual payment field in the account information your company already furnishes?
  5. Does your company have plans to start furnishing actual payment amount information? How quickly could your company begin furnishing actual payment information consistently and accurately?