Thursday, February 25, 2010
Report from U.S. House
Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights signed into law
The Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights was signed into law this spring to hold credit card companies accountable and provide tough new protections for consumers. Beginning Monday, February 22, these reforms took effect, ending unfair, deceptive and anti-competitive practices.
Card issuers have a right to set their own rates and make a profit. What they don’t have a right to do is use unfair practices to earn that profit. A deal is a deal, and when a consumer and a card company enter into a contract, it should be a two-way street.
The Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights will prohibit card companies from raising rates at any time for any reason – an unfair, yet previously commonplace, practice. These provisions level the playing field, which hard-working North Mississippians need now more than ever.
I was proud to vote for the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights to provide North Mississippi consumers with these crucial protections, and I will continue working to ensure that credit card companies treat their customers fairly.
The Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights includes the following provisions:
Requires any rate hike or change in terms to be “noticed” 45 days in advance.
Requires card statements to be sent 21 days in advance of the payment due date.
Prohibits interest rate hikes on existing balances — only on purchases going forward.
Bans penalty rate increases for those less than 60 days overdue on their payments.
Allows over-limit fees only if companies obtain an affirmative opt-in in advance from the customer—and these fees must be “reasonable and proportional” to the cost, as set by regulators.
Bans charging interest on debts paid on-time, or double-cycle billing (this includes due-date gimmicks such as setting morning times for payment, before mail is delivered, or charging fees for paying a bill by phone or Internet).
Requires promotional rates to last at least six months.
Requires consumers under 21 to demonstrate an ability to pay (i.e., some kind of income) or have a parent co-sign for the card.
As you all know, the Mississippi Primary is coming up on June 1, 2010. House regulations prohibit certain types of mass mailings and communications by a member for 90 days immediately preceding that date.
That means my office can only send out certain types of mailings and notices from March 1 until the primary. Many of you receive my weekly e-newsletters to learn about important information and updates.
If you enjoy getting our e-newsletters, or if you would like to start getting them, please make sure that you will receive them throughout this period by signing up on my website at www.childers.house.gov.
Simply enter your e-mail address in the sign-up space provided at the top of the home page, and I will be able to stay in touch with you over the coming months.
As always, please continue to keep me informed about your opinions and concerns by phone at (202) 225-4306 or by visiting my website.congressman Travis W. Childers, First District, Mississippi.
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