The Protection of Credit Card Consumers: Are the Information Duties Enough?

By Víctor Andrade

Credit cards have a complex nature, or better said, as complex as issuers wish it to be. Fractional annual fees or recurring charges, charges per event, late fees, prepaid fees, segmented credit lines, loyalty programs, exclusive promotions, cash advances, and consolidated loans in the event of a minimum payment, are all concepts that, although present in the daily operations of a credit card, can hardly be considered holistically in the decision of contracting or using a particular credit card instead of another.

“Sernac Financiero” means the policy and institutional response to the harmful effects of massification of financial products, in which the main regulatory technique to protect consumers is the use of duties of information.

In this paper we critically review the above option regarding its suitability as a mechanism for achieving adequate financial consumer protection, concluding that its implementation should be improved by taking into account recent findings in the field of behavioral economics. Similarly, weighing the inherent dogmatism of legal economic theories we see the need to expand the current regulatory spectrum, with the aim of taking stronger measures, such as minimum contract content rules and legal prohibitions.

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