Credit Card Changes

Last week, we talked a lot about the heat put on the credit card industry by the White House.  Most people probably don't realize that change is already coming in how those companies deal with cardholders.

Late last year, the Federal Reserve unveiled new rules that would limit sudden interest rate hikes and fee increases on credit cards, much the same kind of things the President Obama was yakking about last week.

Here are the highlights from the Fed on what the rules will accomplish:

  • Protect consumers from unexpected interest charges, including increases in the rate during the first year after account opening and increases in the rate charged on pre-existing credit card balances.
  • Forbid banks from imposing interest charges using the "two-cycle" billing method.
  • Require that consumers receive a reasonable amount of time to make their credit card payments.
  • Prohibit the use of payment allocation methods that unfairly maximize interest charges.
  • Address subprime credit cards by limiting the fees that reduce the amount of available

If you want to read more about it, here's a link to the press release from the

Federal Reserve.

There are all kinds of links to the language of the actual rules and more. They take effect on July 1, 2010.

In other words, no matter what happens with President Obama's jawboning of the credit card industry, or action in the Congress in coming days, change is coming for credit card holders.

Basically, backers in Congress want to accelerate the start of those rules, and add in some extra oversight of the industry.

So for those people who complain that action by Congress would abrogate contracts that have already been agreed to by the credit card company and the cardholder, you've missed the bus.

Change is coming anyway.

You can also follow Jamie Dupree on both Twitter and on Facebook.