Medical credits cards intended to help consumers pay for health care instead may be driving them further into debt, according to a hearing held last week by the Consumer Financial Protection Board.

"This spring, the CFPB published a report on the use of these payment products," said Rohit Chopra, the board's director. "Our research shows that these payment products have less-favorable terms than other general credit products and can land patients with significant amounts of deferred interest. Indeed, over a three-year period, patients paid $1 billion in deferred interest on medical credit cards. This deferred interest isn't something that's fair or transparent — people can find themselves hit with large and unexpected interest costs even when they've been making payments on the bill all along."

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