Breaking Down Credit Card Changes

2/22/2010

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Last Spring, Congress passed a new law designed at protecting consumers from credit card companies. That law goes into effect today, according to The Atlantic Business Journal

So, what's changed? 

45 Days Notice

Credit card companies must now give consumers 45 days notice if they change their interest rates, fees or terms. Consumers can decide within the 45 day gap if they'll accept the changes or opt out. If consumers opt out, they must pay off the balance of the credit card over time.

No 'Arbitrary' Rate Increase In the First Year

Credit card companies cannot raise interest rates in the first year unless you have given the credit card companies permission to do so and as long as you continue to pay off your credit card balance responsibly.

Terms of Balances

If your credit card company increases your rate, the rate change will only apply to new purchases and paying the minimum payment will lower your rate. If you pay more the minimum rate, the payments will be applied to the balance with the highest interest rate.

Over-Limit Fees

Consumers now have the option to opt-in or opt out where over the limit fees are concerned. Opting-in means if your purchase costs more than their credit card limit, the purchase will be denied.  If you opt-out, the credit card companies can only charge you that fee once per cycle instead of every time you make a purchase over your limit.

Read the full article at The Atlantic Business Journal by clicking here.
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