Apr 1, 2009
In response to the financial crisis, Americans need to be well-aware that changing our frivolous spending habits is crucial; however, this week, Congress is holding credit card companies responsible for their practices as well. Consumers are subject to credit card companies’ terms and conditions upon signing their detailed agreements; however, what happens to consumer rights when these credit card companies change terms at their own discretion? The results have proved disastrous for everyday Americans’ bank accounts, as abusive credit card practices find new ways to create endless amounts of monthly fees.
Credit Card Companies’ Abusive Practices
To understand both the importance and potential impact of laws that protect consumers against credit card companies, it is crucial to be aware that credit card rates change unexpectedly. Fees often appear on your monthly statement out of nowhere, even when you pay your bills on time and have made serious efforts to be in good credit standing. These companies raise interest rates and dramatically cut credit limits, with little or no regard for how these changes affect loyal customers. Struggling consumers are left with a large bill and little support-until now.
Senate Banking Committee Approves Bill to Regulate Credit Card Companies
Good news: the Senate Banking Committee, led by Chairman Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut, approved legislation that will begin the fight against unfair credit card company practices. Below is what was outlined in the bill:
- “Protect consumers from “any time, any reason” interest rate increases and account changes.”
- “Prohibit unfair application of card.”
- “Protect cardholders who pay on time.”
- “Limit abusive fees and penalties.”
- “Prohibit issuers from using a consumer’s card history with another creditor to raise interest rates.”
- “Prohibit issuers from charging interest on debt that has already been repaid.”
- “Ensure that cardholders are informed of the terms of their account.”
- “Protect young consumers from aggressive credit card solicitations.”
What will the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act do for Everyday Americans?
This bill will give a voice to consumers that goes beyond the 24/7 customer support that most credit card companies offer. The consumer’s voice will now have legal backing, as the government is taking the first step to acknowledge the role credit companies have played in the US financial crisis. According to The Consumer Federation of America’s Legislative Director Travis Plunkett, “Congress is taking a strong stand against the traps and tricks that many credit card companies use to increase their profits at the expense of financially vulnerable consumers.” With a July 1, 2010 deadline to implement the bill’s outlined changes, Americans can begin to feel good about the progress we are making towards fixing the credit crisis. The crisis certainly cannot be fixed overnight, but bills like this make accountability a priority for both businesses and consumers. With legal backing, credit card companies will be forced to take an active role in getting our economy back on track.
- Tricky Credit Card Fees
- Less Banks Issuing Credit Cards
- Credit Card Act of 2009 – The Effects
- Credit Card Traps – How to Avoid Them
- Credit Card Rewards – What you Should Know
- High Credit Card Rates before the Holidays
- Credit Card Rate Changes – What Can I Do?
- Credit Card Reform – New Law Effective Tomorrow
- Tips to Save Money
- New Credit Card Laws – New Details