Study Finds Citi Has Most Consumer Complaints About Credit Cards During COVID-19

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Last updated on April 5th, 2023

Many credit card issuers are providing customers with payment relief during the coronavirus pandemic. Some consumers, however, are finding that receiving assistance isn’t as easy as they hoped – at least according to a new analysis of data from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). A new report highlights these issues and identifies Citi as the bank with the most consumer credit card complaints during COVID-19.

Report: Citibank Has More Complaints Than Any Other Bank

According to a new finding from Consumer Reports, Citi accounts for over one-third of all consumer complaints about credit cards during the coronavirus pandemic. Data from the CFPB shows that nearly 37% of all consumer complaints from March 16 to May 20 were levied against Citibank.

This total number of complaints against Citibank and Citi credit cards was four times higher than that of any other bank during the same period, the CFPB data shows.

The most cited reasons for complaints against Citi include:

  • Refusal to provide COVID-19 hardship assistance
  • Inflexibility on interest charges
  • The inflexibility of late fees

One anonymous respondent from Texas accused the bank of being unhelpful during this challenging time. “I have been a Citicard member for 31 years, and in 2020 I have encountered the worst and most unprofessional customer service,” they wrote.

“Particularly Egregious”

According to Syed Ejaz, a policy analyst at Consumer Reports, the behavior of Citibank is worrisome. “Citibank’s practices are particularly egregious during a time of severe hardship when so many families have been pushed beyond the brink financially,” he said in a statement with the report.

Citi Responds

Citibank appears not to be taking the report lightly – and is responding forcefully to Consumer Reports’ statements.

“The complaints referenced in the CFPB database include those related to merchant disputes, as well as those received very early in the crisis just prior to credit card assistance being available, and in total, the 168 complaints represent a very small fraction — .008% of the 1.9 million customers assisted,” Citi, one of the world’s largest credit card issuers, said in a statement.

Other Findings from the Report

Synchrony Bank

was the credit card issuer facing the second largest amount of consumer complaints, according to the report. Synchrony is the largest issuer of retail credit cards and co-branded cards in the United States, including offerings from Amazon, PayPal, eBay, DICK’S Sporting Goods, Stein Mart, and more. The bank did not provide a comment concerning the report.

Related Article: Consumer Confidence Growing as Credit Card Payment Relief Enrollment Declines


About: Cory
Cory Santos

Cory is's "Jack of all trades" and resident credit expert, covering all facets of the credit card space. Cory holds academic degrees in both the U.S. and U.K. In addition to credit cards, Cory finds that jogging, cats, and memes are essential parts of a balanced day.

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