Bureau report shows prepaid card complaints up, student loan complaints down

A rolling three-month comparison of consumer complaint volumes shows a 26% increase in the number of complaints about prepaid cards and notable declines in the number received regarding student loans and consumer credit reporting, a consumer bureau snapshot released Tuesday shows.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) most recent consumer complaint snapshot, covering the period between Nov. 1, 2016, and Oct. 31, 2018, shows the percentage change in complaint volume by product, comparing the number of complaints received from August to October 2017 to those received from August to October 2018.

Based on that rolling three-month comparison, the bureau said:

  • Student loan complaints declined about 25% – the greatest decrease reported by the bureau. The monthly average of complaints here was 1,086 from August 2017 – October 2017, and 818 from August 2018 – October 2018, it said. “This year-over-year decline is likely because student loan complaint volume was elevated in 2017 following the Bureau’s enforcement action against a student loan servicer,” the bureau wrote in its report.
  • Credit or consumer reporting complaints declined about 14%, the report shows. The three-month average was 12,123 complaints from August 2017 – October 2017, and 10,398 from August 2018 to October 2018, it shows.
  • Prepaid cards drew about a 26% increase in complaints, the greatest increase among several products. The three-month average was 180 complaints in the period August 2017 – October 2017, and 228 complaints in August 2018 – October 2018.

Checking or savings accounts drew a 14% increase in complaints, the second greatest increase; such complaints totaled 1,871 from August 2017 – October 2017, and 2,129 from August 2018 – October 2018.

The report also provides comparisons of complaint volumes for October 2018 vs. the rolling 24-month period (Nov. 1, 2016, to Oct. 31, 2018), and in some cases the data suggests trends taking another direction. It shows, among other things:

  • a 51% increase in prepaid card complaints in October 2018 compared with the monthly average during the rolling 24-month period;
  • a 26% increase in credit or consumer reporting complaints;
  • a 37% decline in student loan complaints;
  • a 4% increase in credit card complaints; and
  • an 8% increase in checking or savings complaints.

Tuesday’s “snapshot” provides special focus on consumers’ complaints regarding mortgages; read more here.

CFPB Complaint Snapshot (January 2019)