CFPB Quarterly Trends Report Explores Prevalence of Payment Information in Consumer Credit Reporting

Dec 16, 2020Federal Regulation, Financial Literacy, News

Last month, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released its most recent consumer credit trends report, examining the rates of actual payment information used in consumer credit reporting. The information plays a crucial role in determining which products are offered to consumers and what terms of credit are available to them.

The report states that “describing trends in furnishing practices can help deepen policymakers’ and market participants’ understanding of the consumer reporting system’s key role in consumer access to credit, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic when credit standards have tightened and there has been increased strain on consumer finances.”

The report found that furnishing actual payment information seems to be an either/or motion for credit card issuers. Either they furnish actual payment information for almost all accounts, or for none at all.

Key findings also include that shares of credit accounts with actual payment information furnished have typically trended upward for installment loans such as student loans, auto loans, and mortgages. By this past March, those installment loans held actual payment information in more than 90 percent of credit accounts. 

Alternatively, while installment loans trended upward, shares of credit card and revolving accounts with actual payment information furnished declined in the first quarter. In the fourth quarter of 2013, the CFPB found that 88 percent of credit card accounts contained actual payment data, a figure that decreased to 40 percent this year.

Also in 2013, nearly 70 percent of the biggest credit card issuers furnished actual payment data for almost all accounts. The CFPB’s report found that as of 2020, only about 50 percent of issuers with recent payments furnish actual payment data.

“Additional research could further inform our understanding of credit information markets and consumer access to credit, such as determining whether the reduction in the supply of payment amount data has an impact on the terms of availability of credit for consumers,” the CFPB concluded.

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