Three of the provisions of the CARD Act, the legislation passed this year to improve consumer protection in the credit card arena, went into effect yesterday. Here’s what you need to know to sound smart around the water cooler:
1. Your interest rate can gets evaluated for possible lowering. If your rates went up after Jan 1 ’09, the issuers are supposed to look at why they went up and if the underlying basis for their rate raise has changed, consider possibly lowering them. We’ll see.
2. Only one fee can get charged for events/transactions that are against the cardholder agreement.
3. Gift cards must be good for at least five years, replacement cards are free, and dormancy, inactivity and service fees are banned (unless the card hasn’t been used for 12 months and even then it can only be one fee a month).