Do Presidential Candidates Care About Credit Card Reform?

All Presidential candidates should have a plan to wean America off its credit card dependence. We collectively owe almost $1 trillion to credit card companies, but only the Democratic candidates have written plans to reform the credit card industry. Alpha Consumer wrote an excellent summary of their competing plans to strike at some of the industry’s most harmful practices.

Clinton’s plan:

  • Cap credit card interest rates at 30 percent. (The Government Accountability Office reports that 1 in 4 credit cards charges higher rates.)
  • Stop credit card companies from increasing rates without written consent from consumers and prevent rate increases because of missed payments on unrelated accounts.
  • Require card companies to explain terms and fees clearly to consumers.
  • Increase government regulation of credit cards and other credit products through the creation of a Financial Product Safety Commission.

Obama’s plan:

  • Create a five-star rating system for credit cards so consumers have a better sense of the fees and rates associated with each card. Card companies would have to display their star ratings with their application materials.
  • Write a credit card “bill of rights” that would stop credit card companies from making “unilateral” changes to the terms of cards as well as apply interest rate increases only to future debt. It would also stop card companies from charging interest on fees, something the Clinton plan includes as well.

We are greedy and want elements from both proposals, but consumers would win under either plan. Disappointingly, none of the remaining Republican contenders seem to care about credit card reform.

By the way, if you feel like adding to our $943 billion revolving tab, all campaigns accept contributions by credit card.

The Democratic Candidates and Your Credit Cards [Alpha Consumer]
(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. TheUncleBob says:

    >”Increase government regulation”

    How about the government fix problems like the war in Iraq and border security before they start sticking their noses in the private business of others?

  2. cef21 says:

    This is just window-dressing. The banking lobby has bought off the Democrats just as much as it has the Republicans. (The Democrats, after all, are in control of both the House and Senate; if they wanted to, they could reform it all today.)

  3. ClayS says:

    @TheUncleBob:
    Uncle Bob, you’ve got it all wrong. If the Democrats get in, look for increased government involvement in various aspects of our lives. We need the government to look after us, because we are too stupid to think for ourselves. A five-star rating system for credit cards is a great idea…you don’t mean to tell me you can understand fees and stuff all by yourself?

  4. coold8 says:

    Yet another interference with businesses proposed! Ever think that sometimes, consumers are accountable for their own actions? If you spend $100k on your credit card, you have ot pay it back, and why would anyone give you 100k? To earn money! Why else do banks do it???? Would you just loan someone 100k, and just wait for that to come back, while inflation, and lost interest increases? No!

  5. bohemian says:

    This is the kind of government intrusion I prefer. It provides more information and less corporate abuse of the situation. It also helps to prevent a larger national financial problem like the one were seeing now where people can’t pay their mortgages and we have banks tanking.

    The kind of government intrusion I don’t want is telling me who I can marry, what I can’t consume (also the when and the where) because someone else doesn’t approve. Or teaching my kids flawed information because someone else just can’t mind their own business. Add warrantless wiretapping and other questionable big brother style monitoring.

    At least the types of government intervention the Democratic side has been proposing lately is things that protect or benefit the citizens vs. corporate america.

  6. I am not sure how yet, but Messincans are to blame to this, too.

  7. Pupster says:

    Clinton voted FOR the bankruptcy bill, which was written by the credit card companies so that people who file for bankruptcy (much more difficult BTW) can’t clean slate their credit card debts. Instead, they come out of bankruptcy still owing that money and can have their houses taken away and paychecks garnished.

    It’s the bill that she claims she didn’t want to pass even though she voted for it.

  8. cef21 says:

    @ClayS: The problem isn’t fees — those are easy enough to understand. The problem is shady practices by the credit card agencies, such as:

    1. Reducing your credit limit, which has the effect of lowering your credit score, then raising your rate because your credit score went down.

    2. Universal default.

    3. Changing your due date so that automated payments show up late.

    4. Delaying credit payments on your account.

    5. Allowing a payment to go through, even when there’s no available credit line, then charging an “over-the-limit” fee.

    6. Legalese in account terms & conditions intended to obfuscate changes; with a little bit of effort, these can be written in plain english.

    7. Changing the terms on people who have run up a bunch of debt — effectively, they’re a captive audience; they generally can’t move their debt someplace else.

  9. francoamerican says:

    According to the Bible usury is a sin. Its against the law in countries that practice Sharia law such as Saudi Arabia. There is no reason why anyone should be charged more than 10% interest on anything. To charge more is a crime against humanity in my opinion. So Hillary proposes a 36% cap? That’s still usurious.

  10. ClayS says:

    @Pupster:
    Good vote by Clinton in my opinion. One of the reasons credit card interest rates and fees are so high is the number of bankrupcies.

    Responsible consumers are negatively impacted by the deadbeats.

  11. Pupster says:

    @ClayS: You are completely wrong to make a causal link between bankruptcies and what interest rate your bank credit card charges you. There’s no relation at all. Credit card companies charge the interest rates they can get away with, regardless of their other costs. It’s one of the most profitable businesses in banking.

    Hillary voted for the bill because as a NY Senator, she heavily promotes and defends the banking industry. She fundraises heavily from banks.

    Most people file for bankruptcy as a last resort. Recent reports say close to 80% of personal bankruptcies (Chapter 7) come from medical catastrophe. It ruins your credit for a long time to come. But people who go through it should have some chance of reclaiming their lives. The bankruptcy bill, written by credit card companies, completely kills that chance as those debts never get wiped off.

    ClayS, you don’t know much about the finance industry if you are making such claims.

  12. TheUncleBob says:

    @ClayS: Exactly. Why should someone get to run up a bunch of debt, then decide they can’t pay it off?

  13. AcidReign says:

        If I thought either candidate could REALLY pull off their plan, it would be interesting. Obama’s is more doable, I think. People actually pay 30%? Now? Wow. Expecting the lenders to explain things clearly, when the Government can’t, is a pie-in-the-sky demand, if I’ve ever heard one. Ever read a “simple” government .pdf? Creating a financial “bill of rights” on the surface sounds good. The devil’s in the details, on that one.

        Frankly, I think more good could be done by requiring some sort of “personal management” course out of high school grads. This could teach stuff about credit, bill paying, scam-avoidance, etc. I’d think we jettison a semester of foreign language requirement, or even English. GRADZ R CHATTIN LK DIS, BTW, YO?

        All of this could be avoided if people would just NOT take out loans they can’t pay back, and lenders would stop signing up really risky clients. But, no. We have to have the incompetent government administer it, now, because we the people have screwed it up SO badly!

  14. ClayS says:

    @Pupster:
    I agree that credit card companies can charge the rates they wish regardless of their costs. But credit card companies are competing with each other for consumer debt. They need to make a profit and they do. But defaults are a significant cost, and you can be sure they are passing those losses on to the responsible consumers in the form of higher interest rates and fees.

    Gasoline companies also compete with each other based on price. If the cost of crude oil goes up, so will gas prices. The converse is also true.

  15. I am all for simplifying the ridiculous “Terms and conditions” accompanying credit card offers, which have lost all logical sense.
    However, the politicians can’t honestly promise to fix something that is, ultimately, and American behavioral pattern.
    How about not spending more than we own? That’s a revolutionary idea.

  16. Chrislo says:

    Anyone dumb enough to actually believe that report ? Politicians ain’t never gonna’ go to bat for us with the CC companies…

    It’s all empty talk…

  17. nikalseyn says:

    Boy, what a bunch of whiners and helpless people!! I cannot find anywhere in my copy of the US constitution where it requires the government to bail me out of my own stupidity. Anyone who owes a monthly recurring charge on a credit card is so dumb it is hard to fathom how they get thru a normal day. We let far too many people vote who have no idea of personal responsibility. If you are in debt on credit cards you deserve to pay thru the nose.

  18. Pupster says:

    @ClayS: @TheUncleBob: Please educate yourselves a bit on how bankruptcy works, the recent bankruptcy bill and Clinton’s and Obama’s stances on it. This article: [thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com] is a good place to start. Please read the informative comments below to flesh out the details.

  19. barty says:

    About the only part of that I agree with is to make them spell out their terms and fees in plain English so that anyone who doesn’t have an advanced math or business degree can actually understand what the hell is going on.

    But let’s dissect some of the other points:
    -Stop credit card companies from increasing rates without written consent from consumers and prevent rate increases because of missed payments on unrelated accounts.

    If you’re persistently late on other accounts, then it is riskier to continue to lend you money. Other lenders would probably like to include similar language in their loans, but would run off a ton of business in doing so. CC companies get away with it because this country is addicted to the damn things.

    -Write a credit card “bill of rights” that would stop credit card companies from making “unilateral” changes to the terms of cards as well as apply interest rate increases only to future debt. It would also stop card companies from charging interest on fees, something the Clinton plan includes as well.

    I agree the language should be clearer, but so many people sign up for credit cards without reading any of the terms that I don’t think it would make a difference except to cause them to bump their rates for everyone a point or so to comply with all the new regulation.

    -Increase government regulation of credit cards and other credit products through the creation of a Financial Product Safety Commission.

    More regulation = higher cost to consumers. Companies spend money to comply with regulations. On the same token, they want to maintain their profit margin at the same levels, so they increase their prices. Who pays for it? US.

    There’s a simple solution to all this mess…encourage people to NOT use credit cards. When we don’t buy things on credit, inflation slows, people save more money, making that money available for people who need to borrow it for worthwhile endeavors, such as buying homes or expanding a business. Not to mention, if you’re not in debt, if you lose a job or suffer some other kind of hardship, making it through that period is that much easier.

  20. Canerican says:

    McCain and Huckabee have both spoken on this, but I wouldn’t expect to see anything positive about Conservatives or Republicans here.
    Just chnage the name of this site from the Consumerist to the Communist, because those are the talking points that we get here.

  21. Pupster says:

    @ClayS: Clay, I wish I had more time and space to really explain how the credit card industry works. They really don’t ‘compete’ with each other as you say. Instead, it is beneficial to all those companies to charge high rates together. In fact, every once in a while there’s always some action by some state or federal prosecutor wanting to charge the cc companies with collusion in setting rates, but it’s killed by the lobbyists and politicians who act on the banking companies’ behalf.

    The truth is that there is no good reason you and I with great credit still get charged high interest rates. They do it because they can.

  22. Trai_Dep says:

    Holy mackerel. Attack of the wing-nuts!

  23. Trai_Dep says:

    @Pupster: you’re (sadly but sweetly) assuming people of these ilk want to discuss, exchange ideas or do anything besides parrot Republican (via credit card lobbyist) talking points. Or are conversant – or interested in being conversant – in, what’s the word… Facts. Noble effort, though.

  24. ClayS says:

    @Pupster:
    If credit card companies aren’t competing with each other, why am I getting a few mailings a week from them?

    And I pay 0% interest, because I live within my means. In fact, my annual rebate from Amex is about $1200, so they are paying me. Crazy huh?

  25. timmus says:

    Damn, the right wingers and libertarians are taking over this board.

  26. Pupster says:

    @ClayS: Those are teaser rates that last no more than a few months. If you are gaming the system, then good for you, as the vast majority of people don’t have that opportunity.

    Clay, I hope to God that no medical trouble befalls you, or that you don’t lose your job or some other horrible circumstance. (Your response might be, I have insurance or I have savings. But you’ll be shocked when you are put to the test.)

    I firmly believe in personal responsibility too, but there are times when individuals hit bottom, often by circumstance rather than bad decisions. The bankruptcy bill was entirely to help the banks to further profit.

    Let me ask you, that bill has been in effect for a while now. Have you seen your credit card rate go down? No, I didn’t think so.

  27. Pupster says:

    @Trai_Dep: I can only assume these people genuinely don’t know, as their answers are so misguided. If it prompts them to do a little more research, then why should I not say something?

  28. narfinity says:

    @ClayS:

    The Republicans got in, consistently favored corporate interests over those of the citizenry, scared the crap out of us with vague threats of terrorism whenever it’s politically convenient, dismissed rights like habeas corpus as naïve and antiquated, sent hundreds of thousands of people to fight–and thousands to die–in a war based on lies, and threw a hissy fit when merely one of their attempts to pardon their criminal actions failed…how can anyone think Democrats are even a tenth as good at meddling in our lives? How?

    But hey, it’s great that you’re up to speed with Republican talking points circa 1988. Please read some news from the last decade or so.

  29. snoop-blog says:

    @nikalseyn: i fart in your general direction. i bid you good day now. ha!

  30. GearheadGeek says:

    @ClayS: It’s clear that many consumers either can’t or don’t bother to understand the terms and conditions of contracts they sign, but of course they probably won’t be able to figure out a 5-star system either… they’ll have to toss a coin to decide whether more or less stars is good.

    I hardly think a Democratic administration could be any better at being up our asses than these so-called conservatives that have been illegally eavesdropping on us since 12 September 2001. It’s fine to be skeptical about the plans of a new administration, as long as you’re also skeptical of the money-printing fake conservatives who claim to be a better option.

  31. Pupster says:

    @GearheadGeek: As a fiscal conservative, I don’t see how the Republicans can lay any claim to being better for the economy. Compare the value of our dollar now to what it was worth in 2001 when Bush took office. It’s frightening how worthless the dollar is these days.

  32. GearheadGeek says:

    @Pupster: Are you agreeing with me? I hardly think “money-printing fake conservatives” sounds like I have any faith in the fiscal responsibility of the current administration. W was a lousy governor I voted against in TX, left Mr. Hairdo who’s even worse and has spent us into a monstrous hole on the relatively few days he actually shows up for work in Washington. He’s a disaster with legs.

  33. Pfluffy says:

    The answer isn’t just “quit using credit cards.” In this modern life we are almost REQUIRED to use credit cards. Try to rent a car without one. HAH!

    And there are a myriad of things that require a valid credit card number — like getting off a direct marketer’s mailing address, even for FREE. Buy an airline ticket with cash and see yourself getting very, very closely examined, if not detained, by TSA.

    The credit card industry is the only idustry of which I am aware that can change the price of an item long after you’ve purchased it simply because they want to. People need credit cards to make purchases of itmes that they need NOW and hopefully they will use good judgment to only purchase what they can reasonably pay off quickly.

    The credit card industry has basically eliminated bankruptcy protection but still feels the need to gouge the average consumer. A purchase one could pay off in 2 months (like a car repair) can quickly become an overwhelming debt once the CC company lowers your credit availability, tacks on all sorts of over the limit fees, late fees, and universal default interest rates.

    And what’s scariest of all, this can happen to a consumer who has done nothing wrong except be the unfortunate victim of identity theft.

    The CC companies know they are using unfair practices. I suspect that is why some CC companies magically decided to “police themselves” and discontinue universal default the day before they were called into congressional meetings investigating horror stories of credit card customers.

    Yes, it’s time for change. Not only do we consumers need to change our attitude about using credit loosely, the credit card companies need to at least meet us half way and stop abusing even the most responsible credit card holders.

    I would love to use my debit cards as an alternative, but without more security and user rights, I’ll unfortunately still favor a credit card.

  34. stevegoz says:

    @bohemian: I thought it, but you said it before I could (and better, too). If government interference is required to keep us from destroying the economy, then by golly, let’s get some dang regulations out there….

  35. laserjobs says:

    If I was a Presidential candidate I would say whatever it took to get elected. Once I wa elected I would work on with the excuses.

  36. Pupster says:

    @GearheadGeek: Yes, I was agreeing with you. In spades.

  37. Credit Cards are only a problem for people who abuse them. The risks and fees are all written in plain text. Other than bill cycle dates changing and increased rates, Credit cards shouldn’t be much of an issue from politics.. It’s an issue for people who need to exercise self restraint and money management.

    -that’s definitely the most conservative thing Iv’e ever said..

  38. bunnyhead says:

    ah, the perfect consumer revolution storm. Imagine if cardholders united and stopped paying their collective 1 trillion debt. Added to the mortgage blowout, the wheels come off this usurious economy. Forget the pitchforks and angry mobs, just say “no” to your credit card bill and let the revolution begin. Just sayin…

  39. Rando says:

    Both plans are pretty much retarded. Clinton’s plan won’t change a thing as most normal credit card companies already go buy that.

    Obama’s plan is really retarded…5 star rating system? Yeah last time I checked I completely ignore those star ratings because they more than likely don’t tell me a damn thing about what I’m buying.

  40. Trai_Dep says:

    @laserjobs: So you’d be the Republican candidate, then. Good to know.

  41. bohemian says:

    @bunnyhead: I kinda like that idea. Of course there is some negative retaliation (collections and credit scores) but a large enough scale refusal for a long period of time could really cause a larger problem that most people realize.

  42. GhettoGodfather says:

    While most can appreciate the effort, most people (the candidates included) are looking at this the wrong way in my opinion:

    A contract is entered into by two or more parties (in this case, a consumer and the bank). I know as a consumer, I cannot make any unilateral changes to the terms and conditions. What if I were to send them written notice that effective the next billing cycle, my APR is being reduced by 5 percent? I’ve been tempted to try it. The fact is, the bank can (and often does) make unilateral changes without the consumer’s consent to a contract previously agreed to. Now I know what most of you are probably thinking: “You agreed to the fine print stipulating that the card issuer can change its rates/policies at any time”. This doesn’t make it fair. If there should be any reform, it should be limited to this practice. My suggestion, if a bank wants to change my rates and/or terms, they may do so with 90 days or more notice. Give me a reasonable time to either pay off the card or transfer the balance to another card to avoid being forced to accept the new terms (even for a short time) if I don’t agree.

    Oh yeah, to hell with binding arbitration too.

  43. elijah_dukes_mayonnaise says:

    @bunnyhead: That will happen in about a year.

    FWIW, I understand the calls here for fiscal restraint. But
    sometimes, people live beyond their means, without meaning to, thinking
    that a great job is around the corner, or their MFAs aren’t worthless,
    or whatever delusion. So they spend an extra couple hundred per month,
    maybe more if they have car repairs or whatever. When things don’t pan
    out, and they have six credit cards, all at 35% interest, it all
    becomes problematic. The banks, had they been acting in good faith,
    would’ve seen the rash of defaults and bankruptcies and foreclosures
    coming, and mitigated against it by not building a business model
    around risky loans to people living paycheck-to-paycheck.

  44. Sam says:

    I’m more than a little disturbed by Hillary Clinton’s suggestion that 30% is a reasonable limit for credit card interest. Of course, I wasn’t planning on voting for her anyway, and haven’t thus far.

  45. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    Didn’t we just have an article about payday loans where people were bitching about too much oversight? So credit card reform is ok, but payday loan reform isn’t? This seems very contradictory. Either we want the government wiping our asses for us, or we don’t; we can’t have it both ways. If we think that people should be responsible enough not to get themselves into shady payday loans, then people should be responsible enough not to get themselves into shady credit cards. The terms ARE there when you sign up, and like a payday loan, if you don’t like it, pay it off and close the account. If you don’t have the ability to pay it off, then you shouldn’t have spent beyond your means in the first place.

  46. Mojosan says:

    >>>>>>>>>>
    The answer isn’t just “quit using credit cards.” In this modern life we are almost REQUIRED to use credit cards. Try to rent a car without one. HAH!
    >>>>>>>>>>

    Umm. Pay the balance off every month.

    I charge a minimum of $25,000.00 month on my business and persoanl credit cards. I haven’t paid a dollar in fees in the last 5 years. And I’ve gotten 2 LCD tv’s from my Sony card points and probably $6000 in Home Depot gift cards from my business card.

    If you don’t like what credit card companies charge, don’t use credit cards.

  47. Landru says:

    I hope they realize that they need to repeal that bankruptcy bill and ease the bankruptcy laws during what promises to be a long and drawn out recession/financial crisis. And they should allow student loans to be discharged.

  48. Landru says:

    And if you say people should be responsible, then make the corporations and banks more responsible. Let’s even the playing field.

  49. balthisar says:

    >>Disappointingly, none of the remaining Republican contenders seem to care about credit card reform.
    That’s what makes Republicans Republicans. Why the hell should they get involved into something that not of vital government interest? Do we really want cradle-to-grave coddling? Small print is small, but not illegible. No one forces bad credit cards upon us. Jesus H. Christ, let me use my own brain, and support myself. If I want a usury payday advance, it’s my own problem. Capital One credit card? My own problem. Subprime loan? My own problem (except, don’t bail out the loan buyers). Makes life in Somalia seem reasonable — take care of yourself, even if it’s tough. Life is tough.

  50. maikur says:

    so why havent either of these ass hat clowns done something about this while in the senate?

  51. SRSco says:

    @Mojosan:

    HAI ERRYBODY MY NAME IS MOJOSAN AND NOT ONLY DO I LIEK TO USE MAH CREDUT CARDS BUT I ALSO LYKE TO TELL ERRYBADY HOW MUCH MAH INCOME IS LOL. (ITS LIKE HALF A MILLION DOLLARS). LOL IM SO RICH U STUPID BITCHESS. LOL.

    (give me a break)

  52. deadlizard says:

    I’m in favor of regulation. The credit card industry is another bubble waiting to burst and if the government just sits on their ass, the mortgage crisis is going to be a joke next to this. Just consider not everybody bought a house in the last five years but almost everybody has a credit card. And each day more people are digging themselves into more debt.

  53. deadlizard says:

    @Mojosan: Considering how well it worked telling people to diet and exercise, do you think that telling them to pay up their bill in full every month is going to work?

  54. banmojo says:

    1. The average American is too stupid to manage their money properly imo. This could be fixed by several things. a. teaching starting in GRADE school fiscal responsibility, tax law, savings/investment, etc. b. the federal and state governments creating systems by which people can only take ‘so much rope’ thereby preventing them from hanging themselves (and their families and our collective economy) due to their stupidity.
    2. The average business is rightly out to make profit, and as much of that as it can, whilst avoiding fines/jail.

    Mix #s 1 & 2 together, and you get an often explosive mixture. What government SHOULD be doing, rather than padding its own pockets and that of its special interest groups, is PROTECTING its citizens, if even from themselves.

    People should be made to pay their ARMs back all the way, even if it takes them a lifetime. People should be made to pay off their CC debt, again, even if it takes a fucking lifetime. Only be REQUIRING citizens to be responsible (by making them FACE the consequences of their choices/actions) can we truly educate them.

    I’m not for either Democrats OR Republicans. The 2 party system sucks my BALLS and I’m sick of it. We are left with 3 unacceptable choices at this point.

    Hillary? Good God in heaven, she and her husband are big fat liars and may have had business partners killed off in the past. FTW are we thinking about by even CONSIDERING her as a possible candidate? But then again, I said the same about Bill in 92 and again in 96.

    Obama? He gives good speeches, and he’s GOOD at pointing out our problems, but he still hasn’t provided ONE SIMPLE FUCKING plan to fix our broken country. What a perfect politician! What a d-bag!

    McCaine? Whatever. I used to be Republican but Dubya fixed that. I’m still more conservative than liberal (mostly because I have worked my fucking ass off to make something of my life and I’ll be DAMNED before I give more of my hard earned $$ to lazy fucks on social welfare!!) but lets be serious:

    We need to start looking at individuals ISSUES, and deciding on THESE one by one, rather then sign up for a whole party platform. We HAVE the ability to do this – we have the ability to form the most democratic process the world has ever seen, one in which people are awarded the right to vote NOT just because they are citizens, but because they have, in a quantifiable way, contributed to the society in which they are casting their vote in. People who contribute more would have votes that carry more weight. We no longer need Congress. The internet would allow us to vote on each issue as citizens. We have the ability, but no one has the BALLS to make this happen. What a f$#@ing shame, I did so love this country 20 years ago. It’s falling apart at the seams nowadays, and I fear there’s nothing we can do.

    eofm.

  55. elijah_dukes_mayonnaise says:

    It’s all fiat money anyway. And it’s getting more fiat all the time.
    When food and gas increase at a faster rate than salaries, people will
    rely on what the Good Times theme called ‘easy credit ripoffs’. While
    it’s touching that a few of you internet bootstrap conservatives can
    posture like experts in money-management, you’re only a crisis or two
    away from being in debtors’ hell. Punishing people for getting suckered
    into plastic won’t solve the problem — which is that these banks,
    which held total advantage in bargaining power, roped a nation [except
    for a few people here] into relying on credit, then changing the terms
    to where the debtors’ obligations simply could not be met. The credit
    card companies have acted unconscionably, and if they’d been tighter
    with their credit lines, they wouldn’t face so many bad debts.

  56. Snowblind says:

    @cef21:

    Universal Default should be covered under RICO or price fixing schemes.

  57. AtomicPlayboy says:

    It would really bum me out to see anything from McCain on this issue. The President of the United States has no business becoming involved in credit card business practices. Those who want a nanny state to protect them from their own stupidity and/or lack of personal responsibility would doubtless disagree.

  58. sam1am says:

    America is a car and debt is its engine. BUY BUY BUY!

  59. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    What happened to requiring the CC companies to print on the front page of your bill, how long it would take to pay off your current balance if you make the minimum payment?
    They were talking about this a few years ago, and the bank/CC companies talking head in DC said (in a television interview) something to the effect that consumers “aren’t really interested in that kind of thing.” When asked ‘wouldn’t that give people incentive to pay more than the minimum’ this guy just stuck to the canned response ‘consumers don’t want that.’

    Can we get back to more important issues, like being required to show a receipt when I leave a store?

  60. deb35802 says:

    The only thing our politicians (from BOTH parties) care about is power and money. Oh and subjagating and taking away the rights of Americans.

    This country is done for.

  61. ClayS says:

    @maikur:

    Whoa. Whoa. Just hold it right there.

    You mean to say that a Senator can sponsor a bill to legislate precisely what they proposing?

  62. edrebber says:

    If you pay off your credit card balance every month, then you don’t pay any interest on a credit card. Credit card companies loan out a lot of money at 0% interest to customers who pay off their balance every month, which isn’t factored in to the reported interest rates. Government regulations forbid credit card companies from reporting the true rate of interest charged on all moneys loaned. Credit cards are a great product when used responsibly.

  63. JustAGuy2 says:

    @francoamerican:

    Usury’s a sin? Great to hear. Since you truly believe that, head on down to your local payday loan place and tell the people walking in that you’ll loan them money at 10%. See how well that goes for you.

  64. disavow says:

    The free market’s all well and good, but it only works when consumers have enough information, and a stable set of comprehensible rules, to make intelligent decisions. As scandal after congressional hearing after consumer expose shows, that’s not the case.

    Other than a half-assed defense of universal default, so far nobody has addressed the items in cef21′s list of unfair items. If there’s no valid reason for a practice, then obviously the practice itself is invalid.

  65. Bladefist says:

    What consumerist doesn’t understand is the republicans don’t debate on it, because republicans want free markets and less government regulation. To even comment on it, is to be a liberal. But as an internet blog, i expect this to lean left. Although the topic of this blog, educating buyers, is a conservative idea. A liberal society wouldn’t need this blog because there would be 5 gov officials regulating every business.

  66. the babemeister says:

    How about we limit the number of mailings each credit credit operator can send us each month. I am averaging at least fifteen a week….including Capital One which sends one every week….even my dog has gotten one in the mail

  67. avantartist says:

    This is a very interesting issue / conversation. If the government wants to stimulate the economy I would think that consumers having lower interest rates would be of great interest to the government.

  68. HooFoot says:

    The commenters who believe these plans have a chance of in hell of passing are incredibly naive. Even if either candidate broke free from their corporate handlers long enough to introduce a bill with these reforms, Congress, who has also been bought off by corporate interests, would never let it pass.

  69. elijah_dukes_mayonnaise says:

    @HooFoot: You are boiling all the hope out of me.

  70. bustit22 says:

    [b]Sorry to inform everyone, but they’ll always be stupid people in the world. No matter what the gov’t does, people are still going to do stupid things[/b].

    Get used to it.

  71. goller321 says:

    @cef21: While I do agree that there are dems that have been bought off by big business, your statement about them changing things tomorrow if they wanted is COMPLETELY inaccurate.
    The fact is is that they hold a majority, but only by a very small margin, much less than what would be required to override the repubs in the house and senate AND… any bill they send through would be vetoed by President Retardo anyway… requiring two-thirds to override, which they definitely don’t have. People that make statements like yours have no concept of how our government works…

  72. goller321 says:

    @nikalseyn: Gotta love this “personal responsibility” bullshit. I hope you incur some devastating medical loss that causes you to go into deep debt. If you’re married, hopefully it will be your spouse that becomes extremely ill and not only mounts up hundreds of thousands in debt, but also loses their job as well.

    People that talk about person responsibility usually have never had anything really bad happen to them.

    And for the record you retarded repukes… it’s been those stupid people living beyond their means that has kept the economy going for so long since middle class factoring jobs have disappeared in this country. When the CC industry crashes, it will take us all with it.

  73. goller321 says:

    @balthisar: Yeah, they’d rather get into vital government issues like forcing a brain dead woman to remain on life support and banning homosexual marriage… God the people that claim to be repukes are such idiots.

  74. mac-phisto says:

    @balthisar: you can’t be serious. do you honestly think that republicans stand on the sideline while democrats regulate the shit out of everything? do you read a fucking newspaper?

    sorry to drop the f-bomb, but get_fucking_real. washington is stealing your liberty & it’s not party-exclusive. that city is like scrooge mcduck’s money vault & everyone’s swimming in the loot. the only legislation that gets passed these days tightens the noose a little more.

    you can bet your sweet ass that any bill remotely related to credit cards passed by a republican OR democrat controlled government will tip the scales even more against the common man. it can’t be helped – it’s what they do.

    It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.
    -Mark Twain

  75. ClayS says:

    @mac-phisto:
    You’ve got it right. The difference between the Democrats and the Republicans is like the difference between Coke and Pepsi. A lot of hoopla and bickering when they are pretty much the same.

  76. sue_me says:

    Actually, UWisc did a study where they gave a group of welfare participants some guaranteed annual income and another group got no such thing. The group that was on an annual guaranteed income was off welfare MUCH quicker than the group that wasn’t.

    As far as pseudosocialism goes, Sweden and Norway have the highest standards of living in the world. And people aren’t bitching about their high taxes because if they were to lose their job or something, at least they’d have a roof over their head.

  77. LumpyDumplings says:

    @cef21: WROOOOOOOOOONG!

    Democrats do not control the Senate. They don’t even have a majority in the Senate. If they controlled the Senate, Bush and Co. would be in prison so fast you’ld never see it coming (and probably scream “Police state!” as actual criminals get hauled off to jail).

    Because the same sort of fools who think Democrats control Congress think there’s no difference between the parties. Oh, but there is. Just read the fucking article. it’s right here on this web page staring you in your clearly uncomprehending eyes.

    Republican leaders must know their brain-dead cultists never fact-check. If they did, that party (cult?) would collapse overnight.

  78. deadlizard says:

    Greed+Stupidity=Disaster. When the national credit card debt s*** hits the fan we all going to pay. The spending that keeps the economy going -and possibly your job- is based on a trillion-dollar consumer debt. I don’t like government nannying, but if I’m going to be affected because of others’ fiscal irresponsibility, hell yea! Same as we’re all going to pay for our government’s fiscal irresponsibility. If McCain doesn’t have an answer to the looming disaster I can’t trust him with my vote.

  79. Publican says:

    Lookie here… The Ruskies are restarting the cold war, we need more credit card debt to pay for it. Wha’sa matta with u guys?

  80. Hans_Auff says:

    A credit card “bill of rights” is a great idea. The second amendment ofcourse being, the right to bear debt. And with the Obama Michelin Guide to perpetual debt, one can determine which company one wants to go bankrupt with. “Oh look honey, Visa has three stars, a knife and a fork.

  81. missbheave (is not convinced) says:

    @nikalseyn: ppl should be accountable for their actions, but what I like about this is that it protects smart, responsbile consumers too.

    As we’re seeing with the real estate market, total lack of oversight and uneducated, irresponsible consumers can affect us all. If you had bought a house you could afford with a prime mortgage and always made your payments, everyone else’s stupidity and risk taking would most likely leave you know with a devalued property, affecting the equity you deserve.

    I’d like to see more proposals, like the one in TN, to make personal finance a mandatory class in high school.

  82. Hackoff says:

    Credit card companies make far more money off of consumers who are unaware of the pitfalls of using credit to pay for expenses, than they do off of people who pay on a regular basis with low interest rates.

    It is a fact, that if the credit/bank industry didn’t have uneducated/uninformed customers, they could not survive on “good clients alone”.

    It is the predatory nature (aka capitalism) of most business in the United States that maintains a severely lopsided economy. Since our country is built on Capitalism and then Democracy, we are essentially screwed!

  83. redheadedstepchild says:

    @ClayS:

    Assuming a generous 2% cashback, you are putting 60k on that card. REALLY hard to live within your means there. chief.

  84. ClayS says:

    @redheadedstepchild:
    Business expenses; I’m self-employed.

  85. evilinkblot says:

    Government intrusion in my life to help prevent corporate abuse? With what’s going on in the unregulated housing/mortgage markets, I think I’ll be able to deal

  86. MikeWas says:

    [sticksoffire.com]

    You already have all the rights you need: scissors or a blender.

  87. spamtasticus says:

    You heard the democrat’s plans and should check out Ron Paul’s plans, but for now study Spamtasticus’s credit fix plan:

    Short Plan:

    1). Pay Cash

    2). Only buy what you can afford.

    Long Plan:

    1). Go to the bank (specially if it is BoA or HSBC) and withdraw all your money as cash.

    2). Buy a safe and hide it well in your house.

    3). Put cash in safe.

    4). Buy gun to protect yourself and your safe. (if you have kids be smart and educated them and lock the gun)

    5). Pay cash.

    6). Only buy what you can afford.