Can Sandboxes Protect Your Pocketbook?

If you have a late fee on your credit card bill, what do you do? Do you look to the government to protect your pocketbook? Or do you call your credit card company to get them—hopefully—to waive the fee? Paul Watkins, Director of the Office of Innovation at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), says that many consumers have leverage against their credit card companies to get them to waive fees without needing back-up from the government because those companies know their clientele can take their business elsewhere. “We have options,” Watkins stresses. But he also notes that not every consumer has this privilege. In a keynote address delivered in January at the Cato Institute, Watkins argued that robust competition often can achieve more than government enforcement can in increasing options and access to financial protection for consumers. And competition, Watkins declared, is driven by…

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