The House is expected to pass the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act today, and the Senate is considering similar legislation. The Senate battle will be harder, but you can help!
Last year Citigroup pledged to abandon the customer-screwing policy of universal default, where an unrelated late payment or credit score change can trigger an interest rate increase on your Citibank card. They even used a marketing phrase to promote their promise: “a deal is a deal.” According to the New York Times, Citigroup is “quietly reconsidering its pledge” and may decide to reinstate universal default as early as this week.
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.
Thanks to universal default, in which one credit card issuer can elect to raise your interest rate if you fall behind on the payments on another credit card, consumer advocates urge extra carefulness when paying large medical bills by credit card. Instead, first try working out an extended payment plan with the care provider.
Reader Jaime alerts us to an interesting interview from Fresh Air on NPR. In the interview Harvard Law Professor and credit card industry expert Elizabeth Warren dishes on abusive lending practices, the ever-malleable interest rate, universal default and all that fun stuff.