Big Banks’ High Credit Card Rates Underscore Need for Competitive Banking Reform

February 16, 2024 Press Release

Washington, D.C. — In response to a new report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau showing that the largest banks charge 8-10% higher credit card interest rates than smaller financial institutions, the American Economic Liberties Project released the following statement.

“The CFPB’s report is a clear indictment of how big banks, emboldened by unchecked mergers and consolidation, exploit their market dominance to lock consumers in so they can levy exorbitant fees and interest rates,” said Morgan Harper, Director of Policy and Advocacy at the American Economic Liberties Project. “The stark reality is that monopoly power in banking—and the decline of smaller and regional banks—is not just a theoretical concern but a tangible harm to everyday working families costing them hundreds of dollars every year. We’re pleased to see the CFPB expose these costs, and hope this report serves as a wake up call for other financial regulators to halt further consolidation in the industry.”

In July 2023, Harper testified before the Senate Banking Committee on the detrimental effects of bank mergers and consumer finance consolidation, speaking to need for regulators to promote a decentralized US banking system that prioritizes competition. As she said in her testimony, a truly competitive banking industry leads to better products, better prices, and a more stable and sustainable economy – “one that embraces the American tradition of a diverse array of banks serving their communities, allowing small businesses to flourish, incentivized to treat consumers with care and respect.”

In its latest report, the CFPB found that big banks charge more for credit card interest than smaller banks and credit unions, costing cardholders $400 to $500 extra each year. Even with different credit scores, big banks always charge higher rates. They also found that big banks are more likely to charge yearly fees for credit cards, and charge higher yearly fees than smaller banks. This comes on the heels of CFPB’s earlier finding that credit card companies charged consumers a record $130 billion in interest and fees in 2022, and amid reports that Americans’ credit card debt has now surpassed $1 trillion. The CFPB is working to help people find better deals on credit cards and plans to keep sharing information about credit card costs.

Learn more about Economic Liberties here.


The American Economic Liberties Project works to ensure America’s system of commerce is structured to advance, rather than undermine, economic liberty, fair commerce, and a secure, inclusive democracy. Economic Liberties believes true economic liberty means entrepreneurs and businesses large and small succeed on the merits of their ideas and hard work; commerce empowers consumers, workers, farmers, and engineers instead of subjecting them to discrimination and abuse from financiers and monopolists; foreign trade arrangements support domestic security and democracy; and wealth is broadly distributed to support equitable political power.