After the implementation of the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act, the Pew Research Center examined the legislation’s impact on the practices of credit card companies. CNN Money reports that, encouragingly, the center’s findings indicate that most of the unsavory practices used to take advantage of consumers have ceased.
The News Isn’t All Good
Less encouragingly, it appears that new methods have been implemented to part consumers from their money. The new methods include higher fees for balance transfers and cash advances, as well as a hike in penalty fees without disclosing the new rates to consumers. The research investigated the 12 largest banks and 12 largest credit union issuers, who together control 90% of the country’s credit card debt.
Avoid Credit Card Debt At All Costs
It should come as no surprise that we view credit card debt with the same trepidation you might view quicksand. Avoid getting in it at all costs, and if you happen to trip and fall in, extricate yourself as quickly as humanly possible—we don’t want you to drown. Knowing that credit card companies don’t share our mindset is discouraging, to say the least.
We Don’t Have To Play The Victim
But our awareness of their duplicity means that we can be alert and take responsibility for our relationship with our credit cards. To stay afloat, we should:
1. Be aware of credit card account charges.
2. Review our credit card bills carefully and verify all charges.
3. Never take a cash advance.
4. Never miss a payment.
It seems like a given that credit card companies will take advantage of us, but we don’t have to make it easy for them.