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Regulating Consumer Financial Products: Evidence from Credit Cards

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  • Johannes Stroebel

    (New York University)

Abstract

Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act in the United States. Using a unique panel data set covering over 150 million credit card accounts, we find that regulatory limits on credit card fees reduced overall borrowing costs to consumers by an annualized 2.8% of average daily balances, with a decline of more than 10% for consumers with the lowest FICO scores. Consistent with a model of low fee salience and limited market competition, we find no evidence of an offsetting increase in interest charges or a reduction in access to credit. Taken together, we estimate that the CARD Act fee reductions have saved U.S. consumers $20.8 billion per year. We also analyze the CARD Act requirement to disclose the interest savings from paying off balances in 36 months rather than only making minimum payments. We find that this “nudge†increased the number of account holders making the 36-month payment value by 0.5 percentage points, with a similarly sized decrease in the number of account holders paying less than this amount.

Suggested Citation

  • Johannes Stroebel, 2014. "Regulating Consumer Financial Products: Evidence from Credit Cards," 2014 Meeting Papers 126, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed014:126
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D0 - Microeconomics - - General
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • G0 - Financial Economics - - General
    • G02 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Behavioral Finance: Underlying Principles
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • L0 - Industrial Organization - - General
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality

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