Wall Street Versus Washington: Government Regulation Limps Along - Page 3
4. The Credit Card Act of 2009
The Credit Card Act of 2009 was designed to protect consumers from shady credit card company practices. Many of its new rules took effect on February 22, 2010. Credit card companies call still have the right to do things like increase your interest rate, charge new fees, or make other significant changes to your card’s terms and conditions, but now they’re required by law to give you 45 days notice when they do so. That means no more surprise fee increases. You can’t stop them from coming, but you now have enough time to cancel your card if you don’t like them.
The Credit Card Act comes with a variety of other protections to help you borrow more responsibly. If you apply for a credit card, you’ll have to have a cosigner unless you can demonstrate your ability to make payments. And now, if you carry a balance, your monthly credit card bill will tell you how long it will take to pay it off if you only make minimum payments. It will also tell you how high your payments have to be to pay it off in three years. Of course, it’s best if you don’t carry a balance at all, but if you do, you’ll have a better idea of how to get rid of it.