Want to complain about a credit card issuer?

When you've exhausted remedies with the company, it may be time to file a complaint.

As of July 21, 2011, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) offers a one-stop place for credit card holders to resolve complaints they may have with a credit card issuer.

The agency's new Web-based Consumer Response Center allows credit card holders file complaints online or via a toll-free number: 1-855-411-CFPB (2372). (See: Got a credit card complaint? Let us know if you file a complaint.)

Consumers can log complaints about a host of different credit card problems, including billing, advertising, fees, interest rates, rewards and collection problems. Every complaint will be assigned a tracking number. Consumers will be directed to contact the issuer first to allow the company to resolve the dispute. If there is no resolution, the CFPB will investigate the complaint to determine if any consumer protection laws were violated and if enforcement action is needed. Consumers can log in to the CFPB's complaint system at any time to track the status of their credit card complaints using the tracking number assigned to their cases.

Previously, no single regulatory agency handled consumer complaints about credit cards. Depending on the bank's charter, consumers had to contact one of five different agencies.However, the new CFPB system is still in test mode and is only collecting complaints about credit cards. The system won't be fully operational for several more months. In the meantime, consumers with complaints about other types of financial products -- such as debit cards, checking accounts or debt collection agencies -- should contact the traditional federal regulators to get help with those products.

Here is contact information for the federal regulators. Click on the links to go to the agency websites or call, write or fax the agencies.

  • The Federal Reserve Board, which regulates banks that are members of the Federal Reserve System and some state banks. Online, go to the Federal Reserve Board Consumer Help site. Write to: Federal Reserve Consumer Help, P.O. Box 1200, Minneapolis, MN 55480. Call: (888) 851-1920. Fax: (877) 888-2520.
  • The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), which regulates national banks that have the word "national" or initials "N.A." in their names. These include major national credit card issuers, including Bank of America, Citi and Chase. Online, visit the OCC's HelpWithMyBank.gov's consumer complaint page, Contact the Customer Assistance Group at: 1301 McKinney St., Suite 3450, Houston, TX 77010. Call: (800) 613-6743. Fax: (713) 336-4301.
  • The National Credit Union Administration, which regulates national credit unions. They have the word "federal" in their names or are located in Delaware, South Dakota, Wyoming or Washington, D.C. In general, federal credit unions have charter numbers that are below 60,000 while state credit unions have charter numbers greater than 60,000. Online, the NCUA consumer complaint page can help guide you to the right way to complain. Write the NCUA at: 1775 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314-3428. Email: consumerassistance@ncua.gov. Call: (800) 755-1030 (Press 2 for complaints).
  • The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) investigates all types of complaints about banks and institutions that are FDIC-insured. Online, see the FDIC's consumer assistance form. Write to: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Consumer Response Center, 2345 Grand Blvd., Suite 100, Kansas City, MO 64108-2638. Email: consumeralerts@fdic.gov. Call (877) ASK-FDI
  • State banking regulators, which oversee state-chartered banks and state-chartered credit unions. Either online or with the phone book, check your state's directory of agencies. In Florida, for instance, it is the Office of Financial Regulation. In New York, it is the New York State Banking Department.

To complain about debt collection practices, credit reporting agencies, credit repair companies or debt settlement services, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) takes consumer complaints online and through its toll-free number: (800) FTC-HELP.

Finally, many local communities have consumer affairs offices that may offer advice on resolving your problem.

See related: Your Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: What it can do, Got a credit card complaint? Let us know if you file a complaint, A comprehensive guide to the Credit CARD Act

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