PBS has posted an article that discusses new credit card regulations and their immediate affects. A new credit card act was passed last year and the rules took effect in February of this year. Some of the new regulations that protect consumers include:
• no retroactive rate hikes;
• statements must be mailed 21 days before payment due date;
• payment dates can’t suddenly be shifted;
• statements must say how long it will take to pay off balances and the total interest costs if paying just the monthly minimum;
• 45 days notice required for changes in terms and conditions.
For debit cards — now more popular than credit cards — the Federal Reserve issued new rules (effective summer 2010) on overdraft fees. So,too, have some large banks:
• card issuers can’t charge fees for debit card overdrafts at stores and ATMs unless the cardholder has agreed;
• some large banks (see list) are limiting the number of debit card overdraft fees that can be charged in a day, and changing other policies.
However, issues still abound concerning several types of fees. Some of them include:
-the tricks in late fees;
• fees involving prepaid debit cards;
• inactivity fees, foreign exchange fees, gift cards, etc.
In addition, there’s no ceiling on interest rates nor on penalty/service fees for debit, credit and prepaid cards. And small business credit cards aren’t covered by the new regulations; their credit limits are being slashed.
You should feel free to shop around and go with the credit card company that gives you the best offer, but it’s always a good idea to read the fine print about hidden fees and other charges.
If you have further questions or concerns, feel free to contact us through our website or by calling 205-879-2447.
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