Thursday, May 21, 2009

ongress Sends Obama Credit Card Bill

Today, Congress sent President Obama the much talked-about bill
setting in place new rules for the credit card industry.

The new restrictions will protect debt-ridden consumers from many
of the surprise charges common in the industry, like over-the-limit
fees and a charge to pay the bill by phone. People under 21 also will
find it difficult to get a card.

In addition to outlawing other hidden/unexpected fees, the bill puts
into place a measure that will allow credit card holders who miss a
payment and see their rates rise to lower their rate back to the
original level if they pay on time for six consecutive months.

Of course, there are expected to be some negative consequences:

As banks scramble to make up for the lost revenue, cardholders who
pay off their balance in full each month could see annual fees become
the norm and lucrative rewards programs canceled.

Annual fees? No more thank you points? I have a feeling that
competitive forces will still push credit card companies to offer
perks to desirable customers. But I also have a feeling that the lost
revenue from the now out-lawed fees will be recouped through various
shifts and alterations of still-legal fees and rates. As long as so
many of us rely on credit cards, the companies who offer us the credit
will find a way to remain profitable.

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