Obama's Changes in Credit Card Regulation

Obama's Changes in Credit Card Regulation

Amid the healthcare debate, there’s one Obama crusade that has come to pass: The president is making credit card companies play fair by signing into law the CARD (Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure) Act of 2009. According to the White House, 80% of American households have credit cards, and they are paying $15 billion annually in penalty fees. Congress is concerned about questionable practices surrounding hidden fees and sudden rate hikes, so it’s taking steps to ensure that Americans are better protected.

Why It Matters to You

This bill is a major win for all cardholders. Credit card companies will no longer have carte blanche to randomly raise rates or change payment due dates—something that has caused consumers a lot of pain in the past. The CARD Act imposes rules on promotional and introductory rate offers, giving cardholders the chance to pay off their debt before their rate increases. Instead of mailing disclosure statements loaded with fine print just once a year, credit card companies are now required to post all fee and rate information online in a user-friendly, printable format. The law also limits dormancy fees on unused store gift cards. There’s news especially for college students and young people: No more marketing blitzkriegs with credit offers. All provisions of the law will take effect by February 2010. For more CARD Act benefits, check out this release from the White House.

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