Fed regulators adopted new rules for the credit card industry that will curtail some of their most anti-consumer practices. Unfortunately, they don’t take effect until July, 2010. Here’s what they are:
- No more raising rates on existing balances
- No more double-cycle billing.
- Any payment above the minimum must automatically apply to the part of the balance with the highest interest.
- Minimum time before notice of change of terms takes effect goes from 15 to 45 days.
- Borrowers need reasonable time before a payment is due, at least 21 days
- No excessive fees for exceeding credit limit because of a hold placed on the account
- Subprime credit cards that have a $500 credit limit but a big upfront fee will have that fee capped at no more than 50% of the credit limit, and it can be paid off over a year, rather than immediately.
These are some great new rules. Too bad by the time they take effect the recession will probably be over. How about some action from Congress on fast-tracking these rules to something closer to, oh, say, nowish?