Credit Card Rules Changed!!

Congress got involved with credit card companies. As a result, the credit card companies recently changed the rules regarding how it can charge customers. The credit card changes went into effect February 22, 2010. Consumers with credit cards should be aware of their rights under the new laws.

1. Interest rates: Credit card issuers can no longer change interest rates in the first year that they issue the card. Cardholders get 45 days notice on any rate changes. Interest rates on the balances will not be raised unless the account is 60 days past due.

2. Put a cap on it: Activation and/or service fees in the past were unlimited. Now, the activation and service fees are capped at 25% of the credit limit during the first year of use.

3. Amazing grace: Card issuers previously were able to change the due dates to make it easier to charge late fees. Now, credit card companies have to give customers at least a 21-day grace period to pay their balance.

4. Credit limits: Customers have to agree to exceed their credit limits before they can be charged a fee for doing so, and customers who go over limit can only be assessed one fee per bill.

5. How long? Monthly statements now need to show how long it will take a cardholder to pay off the balance of their credit card debt if they only pay the minimum amount due.

6. Just say no: Cardholders can now refuse to accept interest rate hikes. If you refuse the new interest rates you opt instead to pay off your balances at the existing rates.

7. Hi Mom! Credit card companies used to target college students because their parents were liable for all charges. Now, anyone under 21 years old must have a co-signer or proof of enough income to repay the debt they might incur before they are issued a credit card.

Caveat Emptor!

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