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Credit Card Bill Heads to Obama's Desk

Consumers rejoice! Congress swiftly passed the Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights Act yesterday, and it's already headed to Obama for his final approval.

In fact, the President is expected to sign the bill into law by early next week, even if it does include a completely unrelated provision that allows individuals to bring concealed weapons into wildlife refuges and national parks. It's funny how our government works sometimes, isn't it? Of course, it doesn't seem like even a controversial gun proposal is enough to stop such a popular piece of legislation from getting signed into law. Chances of anything thwarting the bill's success at this point are slim to none.

Frankly, there's been so much media hype and "chest pounding" about all of this that I've personally found it difficult to find any detailed analysis of what the new rules will do for consumers. So, I turned to the trusty Library of Congress this morning to read about what's specifically included in the latest version sent to the President.

Here are the top 5 changes that stood out to me:

  1. Creditors will have to provide you with 45 day's notice before rates are increased, except for changes that are a result of a change in an index on which the rates are based. (Many are doing this already)
  2. Over-the-limit fees will get the ax unless you choose to be allowed to spend more than your limit. Why would you want to do that anyway?
  3. You will be able to pay however you like without having to deal with dreaded convenience fees! Charges to pay on the phone or the internet will soon see their last day
  4. If you're under 21, you will have to show proof of income to receive credit or have your parents cosign
  5. Creditors will still be allowed to raise your rate if you are more than 60 days late on payments, but they must restore your original rate after 6 months of positive payment history

These are the biggies that stood out to me, but are there any other changes you find more meaningful?

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Joshua Heckathorn's picture

Joshua Heckathorn was President of Creditnet, is a credit expert and has been featured on CNNMoney, FOX Business, Yahoo Finance, The Street, and many other national publications during the past ten years.  He received a Bachelor of Science in Management (Finance) from Brigham Young University's Marriott School of Business and earned his MBA from Seattle University.

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