Gather Your Questions for Credit Card Reform

The Credit Card Reform Act that’s been phasing in for practically ever is scheduled to firm on February 22. We’ve all heard dribbles and bits about the Act, but a survey by Consumer Federation of America and the Credit Union National Association found that most of us don’t really know what it’s all about.

The White House is hosting a Town Hall Meeting with White House Economic Advisor, Austan Goolsbee on Feb. 22 at 2pm, eastern time. You can submit your questions regarding the Credit Card Reform ahead of time.

You can also submit questions for the town hall through Twitter. Just be sure to include the hashtag #cardlaw in your Tweet.

In the meantime, here’s a brief run-down of how the Act affects consumers:

• Consumers must be given 45 days’ notice of any changes in the interest rates of future balances or in other key terms of a credit card account.
• Hikes in the interest rates of existing balances are generally prohibited. Exceptions: If a promotional rate expires, if the cardholder makes a late payment, or if the contracted rate was variable. That last one — a variable interest rate — is a key loophole that many credit card issuers have been exploiting by changing consumers to variable rate cards prior to Feb. 22.
• Consumers have the right to “opt out” of significant changes that might be imposed on their accounts. To do so, they merely have to close their accounts and pay off the existing balances within five years.
• Limitations are imposed on the issuance of credit cards to anyone under the age of 21.
• Customers who maintain monthly balances must be told how long it will take to pay off that balance if they make only the minimum monthly payments.
• Bills must be mailed at least 21 days before payment is due.
• Credit card issuers must apply any payments to balances carrying the highest interest rates first, and issuers cannot impose over-the-limit fees unless customers specifically authorize such transactions.

Post a Comment

Required fields are marked *


%d bloggers like this: