Tell Congress to Protect Credit Cardholders!
Consumers, especially students and other young people, are struggling more than ever with debt. With the rising costs of college, gasoline, food, health care, and other expenses, credit cards are becoming the "safety net" for an entire generation. Unfortunately, credit card companies are using unfair and even predatory practices to increase their profits at the expense of the financially vulnerable or inexperienced.
It is common for credit card contracts to include a clause that states that interest rates can be changed “at any time, for any reason.” This means that your interest rates can be increased drastically, even if you have perfect credit and have never made a late payment. These rates also apply retroactively. Companies also play games in order to make it easier to charge customers late fees. For example, many companies mail their statements later in the month to give borrowers less time, or require that payments be received before the mail arrives on the “due date.”
Click here to learn about other outrageous credit card company practices.
Fortunately, there are several efforts in Congress and in the Federal Reserve Board to reign in these anti-consumer practices. In September 2008, the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights passed the House, but was not taken up by the Senate. Three months later, the Federal Reserve Board (“the Fed”) acted to ban many of the same abuses that the bill was attempting to end. However, these new rules are not set to take effect until July 2010 at the very earliest.
As a result, Rep. Carolyn Maloney and Rep. Barney Frank have re-introduced the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights (HR 627). The bill would extend the Fed’s restrictions to cover a wider range of credit card abuses, including the practice of marketing credit cards to minors. Additionally, the bill would take effect 90 days after being signed by the President. Given the economic hardships that young people all over the nation are currently facing, it is urgent that these credit card abuses are promptly halted.
The bill was recently passed through committee, and will be voted on by the House of Representatives soon. We need your help to make sure that Congress supports strong consumer protections for credit cardholders!