Monday, February 22, 2010

Credit Card laws . . .

Not my normal subject matter, I know, however, these changes are ones that I've been watching for a bit. Hubby did a lot in the credit restoration industry years back . . .even helped him formulate and design an 80-page self-help manual on the subject, so anytime the credit industry is being overhauled, I'm all about staying on page.

A few of the CC changes went into effect last August. Most, however, hit the percentage points today.

Feel free to stop by any of the major news sources and you'll see this matter covered for the next few days. If, however, you'd like an overview, this is what I found interesting.


Limited interest rate hikes -- meaning, the CC companies cannot jack your rates. Well, almost. CC companies can increase your interest rate if: (1) you're late on payment, (2) you have a variable rate card, (3) or it's the end of the promotional period you signed up for. GOOD NEWS -- CC companies must give 45 days notice before rate hikes on existing balances, and interest rates can only increase on new transactions after the first year.

Limited universal default -- meaning, in the past CC companies could adjust your interest rate using credit data from any # of sources. GOOD NEWS -- they cannot pull obscure credit data to raise your interest rates. Existing balances cannot be adjusted just because the phone company, the insurance company, the electric company submits damaging information against your credit file. Word of caution: with 45 days notice the CC company can raise your rates using this info. But, they have to tell you what they're going to do and give you the 45 days, which means you can shop around for another credit source and send their slab of plastic back in teeny, tiny pieces.

Limited credit to those under 21 -- well, giving CCs away like candy to those struggling with their first taste of financial freedom or to make college ends meet has never seemed like a very good idea to me. Someone in Washington final got on the same page. GOOD NEWS -- Now, those under 21, must have a co-signer or must show MEANS to make the CC payments.

MY FAVORITE!

Time to pay the bill and pay it on time -- CC companies must give 21 days to pay a bill. GOOD NEWS -- No more sending out bills where the due dates have been moved forward and expect consumers to juggle finances to get the bill paid on an earlier date. Believe me, CC companies won't ever move your due date back on the calendar. Also, CC companies cannot make payments due before 5pm on the DUE DATE. Word of caution: I couldn't find whose 5pm the law references. My guess, but do check this out, it will be based on wherever the corporate office is located for your CC company.

There are a number of other CC issues that the new bill regulates. Again, go to your favorite news source for the best, up-to-date information. However, I did find this great site for new CC fees that the CC companies are putting into effect. Many are already hidden in the small print of your new CC information. Check out: creditcards.com

This was interesting as well: 10 worst mistakes on credit cards

Sorry, if this post seems a bit droll, but hey, giving the CC sharks more money than they deserve is cause for revolution in my financial book.


On the back porch, it's been cloudy and cool, and, wow, has the wind blown. I have my rose bush under cover again -- yep, there's snow in the forecast once more. Frankly, not expecting much this time. A dusting, they claim, but it's certainly cold enough to snow.
Do drop by again.
Until then,
~Sandra

8 comments:

Wendy Marcus said...

Thanks for the info, Sandra! When I'm actively working on a manuscript (like I am now) I feel like I live in a bubble. All my spare time is devoted to plotting and characterization. I've noticed more letters from my credit card companies lately, but haven't paid close attention to them. I think I'd better from now on!

Liz said...

Thank you for the public service announcement - lol - already I had a cc tell me they were going to charge a $60 annual fee BUT if I spent $2400 in a year they would wave it - ??? this is like encouraging people to spend to they save - anyway I guess you can imagine where I told them to go - btw - thanks for visiting my blog

Regina Richards said...

As a mother about to send her first born off to college next fall, I am so, so, so grateful for the new 'under 21' rules.

Pamela Cayne said...

You take such good care of us, Sandra! :)

Marilyn Brant said...

Thanks for the good info, Sandra. I've been hearing a lot about this and appreciate the helpful links. Hope you have a wonderful week! :)

Katie Reus said...

I just heard this on the radio this morning. Among everything else, I'm really glad they changed the age limit. When I was 18 I got one and three months later, my dad made me cut it up b/c I was out of control. It's probably why I rarely use one now ;)

L.A. Mitchell said...

I had heard about this but hadn't paid much attention. Thanks for watching out for us ;)

Becky Sue Burkheart said...

excellent post, thank you for sharing

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