Deceptive Credit Card Practices May End Sooner

Credit card users were overjoyed and then deflated when, in December, Federal Regulators announced restrictions on deceptive and unfair practices used by the credit card industry.

While the new regulations addressed most of the worst practices used by card issuers, they weren’t set to go into effect until July 2010. That left plenty of time for card issuers to lower the boom on current credit card users.

When the regulations were passed, credit card companies asked for time to implement the new rules, and congress complied. Now, perhaps as a result of public outcry, a bill has been introduced to congress to speed up the process. If passed by both the Senate and the House, the bill will then go to the President. New regulations would take effect 90 days after receiving the President’s signature.

Among the measures covered by this legislation the bill will obligate credit providers to give customers 45 days’ notice for rate increases and would prohibit them from raising rates on current balances, unless the card holder payments are more than 30 days late.

It will also end the practice known as double-billing, which has been costly for consumers who carry a balance on their cards.

Card issuers will also be required to mail statements in a timely manner – so that card holders have time to receive the bill, pay it, and mail it back by the due date. Presently, the bill may be due the day after receipt – forcing card holders into a late-payment situation.

Representative Carole Maloney, who authored the bill, said “Congress should act immediately to stop them, not force consumers to wait another year and a half before they get relief.”

Meanwhile, credit card holders should watch their statements carefully – and open them the day they arrive. Check for due dates, interest rates, credit lines, and minimum payments. Don’t assume that things are the same as they were on the previous statement, because until this legislation becomes law, card issuers don’t have to give you fair warning.

In addition, be sure to read every correspondence from your card issuer, and if you plan to make a large purchase with your credit card, go to the website and check your available balance before leaving home. Just because you had $5,000 available on your most recent statement doesn’t mean it is still available. your resource for free credit reports, credit cards, loans, and free credit repair advice.

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