New Credit Card Rules 2/22/2010: What That Means for All of Us

Almost all of us use credit cards.

The provisions from the 2009 Credit Card Responsibility and Disclosure Act start today.

Here’s the GOOD NEWS you should know:

  • You now have 21 instead of 14 days to make your payment.
  • Card issuers now must give you 45 days (instead of the previous15 day) notice of a change in their terms.
  • Credit card companies are now REQUIRED to state how long it will take you to pay off your balance.
  • Credit card companies must state how much interest you’ll pay if you pay only the minimum due each month.
  • Credit Card companies can no longer raise the interest on your existing debt. (Unless you have a variable APR OR if you are 60 days late on a payment.
  • Credit card companies cannot raise interest rates on new debt without first giving you a 45 day notice.
  • Credit card companies cannot charge you for payment made over the phone or on-line or any other way.
  • Credit card companies cannot raise your interest rate on your present balance due to unrelated accounts, such as utility bills.
  • Credit card issuers can no longer set up base on college campuses and give out free stuff to lure students.  Individuals under 21 will have to have adequate income or a co-signer in order to get credit.
  • Credit card companies must give you the SAME due date every month. (Previously, they would “trick” you into forgetting the due date by billing you on “cycles”.

As always, there is some BAD NEWS with the good:

  • If you have been a really good credit card holder—paying your bills on time, having almost perfect credit scores—you will be just as likely as a non-good credit card holder as to having airline miles reduced and having annual fees.  So, any “perks” a good credit card holder has had, will probably be gone.  Shop around.
  • Credit card issuers can still come up with “fees.”  Look very very carefully in the TERMS and AGREMENT section (that very fine print).  If you don’t understand, don’t agree to anything until you call and find out the real deal.
  • Watch those balance transfers.  Make sure you know how much you are paying to “transfer” your money to a lower interest rate card.
  • It will be a lot tougher to get credit now.  You may have to provide proof of savings and more information on income.

Other Resources for Additional Details:

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