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Credit Card Reform to Save the Day?

July 3, 2010

Credit card providers have been charging it to consumers for years one might say.  Before you ever swipe your card you may be subject to the; haven’t used the card before fee, you don’t have a large enough balance fee, you haven’t used me in days fee or my favorite the didn’t swipe fast enough fee.  Ok maybe I’m exaggerating, but not by much.  Credit card providers are creating new fees everyday to offset the loses they are subject to with the Credit Card Reform Act (CARD).  The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility Disclosure Act was implemented to curb the predatory practices that have contributed to the billions of dollars card providers collect annually in miscellaneous fees.

The purpose of President Obama CARD ACT is to protect American card holders and end the days of unfair rate hikes and hidden fee’s.   Beginning August 22, 2010, your credit card company are required to make some much needed adjustments, but what will it really mean for you?

They Must…

  • Give customers at least 21 days to pay their bills
  • Provide a 45 day notice on major changes (rate hikes, fees etc)
  • Only charge you one penalty fee at a time.
  • Cap late fee’s at $25

Still Can…

  • Raise rate if you’re late on other obligations
  • Can hike rates up to 29.99%
  • Raise rates above 29.99% if you have a variable rate
  • Switch you from a fixed to a variable rate at any time
  • Cut your credit limit by as much as they want and close an account without advance notice. (Even if you pay on time)

Can No Longer…

  • Automatically charge fees to consumers who exceed their limit
  • Raise rates on existing balances, unless they are 60 days late
  • Charge you inactivity fees or excessive late fees

The bottom line is banks will still be able to get around many of these rules, so consumer beware.  Read the fine print, ask question to your credit provider, read any and all mail you get and never assume it’s junk.

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