This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Top Credit Card Stories of 2012

3. The Libor scandal
The Libor rate-fixing scandal is far reaching for consumers and financial institutions. Regulators are still investigating whether banks rigged interest rates to gain more profits or perhaps reported lower interest rates on loans to appear more financially stable. A rigged Libor rate means millions of people around the world might have unknowingly paid more or less interest than they should have on their mortgages, student loans and credit cards.

Regulators have begun handing down fines. In June, British bank Barclays (BCS) was fined $450 million by U.S. and British regulators. Just recently, Swiss bank UBS (UBS) agreed to pay $1.5 billion in fines for its role in manipulating Libor and other benchmark interest rates. This is one of the biggest fines that regulators have given a financial institution.

4. Crackdowns in deceptive telemarketing practices
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau levied significant fines against American Express (AXP), Discover (DFS) and Capital One (COF) for either misleading consumers into applying for credit cards or into buying add-on services. The actions by the CFPB put $425 million back into the hands of nearly 6 million credit card consumers. In addition to these refunds to consumers, the three issuers had to pay a total of $66.5 million in penalties.

Discover refunded $200 million to their credit card customers for pressuring cardholders into buying expensive payment protection and credit monitoring services. In addition, Discover will pay a $14 million fine. The regulatory agencies reported the company's telemarketers misled customers about the programs, enrolled customers without their consent and led customers to believe the products were free. In some instances, the scripts suggested the cardholders would not be charged until after they had reviewed written materials, but the materials arrived after Discover had already charged the customers for the products.

Capital One agreed to pay up to $150 million to 2 million consumers as a result of the bank's telemarketers deceptively pushing these same credit monitoring and payment protection services. Capital One agreed to pay fines of $60 million to the CFPB and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

American Express had to reimburse an estimated $85 million to nearly 250,000 cardholders who were either misled into paying an old debt because they thought it would be reported to the credit bureaus, promised upfront bonuses from signing up for credit cards, paid illegal late fees or were promised their debt would be forgiven and then denied new credit cards because the debt was not forgiven.

The FTC also cracked down on robocalls that deceived consumers into paying hundreds or sometimes thousands of dollars by claiming they could reduce credit card interest rates in return for an upfront fee. Federal judges in Florida and Arizona temporarily shut down five companies that directed these robocalls to consumers. The FTC said these five agencies could have defrauded consumers out of possibly $30 million over the past few years.

2 of 4

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,098.45 +18.88 0.11%
S&P 500 2,003.37 +6.63 0.33%
NASDAQ 4,580.2710 +22.5760 0.50%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs