https://mfmnv.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/logo-300x92.png 0 0 Tanika Capers https://mfmnv.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/logo-300x92.png Tanika Capers2017-07-02 08:15:142017-12-12 11:47:07“THE CREDIT CARD ACT OF 2009-PART II’ 12 CONSUMER PROTECTIONS YOU NEED TO KNOW
“THE CREDIT CARD ACT OF 2009-PART II’ 12 CONSUMER PROTECTIONS YOU NEED TO KNOW
Last month, we learned about the ‘Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009’ promulgated by former President Barack Obama. Let’s get to the nuts and bolts of what you need to know.
CARD Act highlights:
1. Limited interest rate hikes: Interest rate hikes on existing balances are allowed only under limited conditions, such as when a promotional rate ends, there is a variable rate or if the cardholder makes a late payment. Interest rates on new transactions can increase only after the first year. Significant changes in terms on accounts cannot occur without 45 days’ advance notice of the change.
2. The right to opt out: Consumers have the right to opt-out of — or reject — certain significant changes in terms on their accounts. Opting out means cardholders agree to close their accounts and pay off the balance under the old terms. They have at least five years to pay the balance.
3. Limited credit to young adults Credit card issuers are banned from issuing credit cards to anyone under 21 unless they have adult co-signers on the accounts or can show proof they have enough income to repay the card debt. Credit card companies must stay at least 1,000 feet from college campuses if they are offering free pizza or other gifts to entice students to apply for credit cards.
4. Clearer due dates, times: Issuers have to give card account holders “a reasonable amount of time” to pay on monthly bills. That means payments are due at least 21 days after they are mailed or delivered. Credit card issuers are no longer able to set early morning or other arbitrary deadlines for payments. Cutoff times set before 5 p.m. on the payment due dates are illegal. Payments due at those times or on weekends, holidays or when the card issuer is closed for business are not subject to late fees. Due dates must be the same each month.
5. Limits on over-limit fees: Consumers must “opt-in” to over-limit fees. Those who opt out will have their transactions rejected if they exceed their credit limits, thus avoiding over-limit fees. Fees cannot exceed the amount of overspending. For example, going $20 over the limit cannot have a fee of more than $20.
6. Minimum payments disclosure: Credit card issuers must disclose to cardholders the consequences of making only minimum payments each month, namely how long it would take to pay off the entire balance if users only made the minimum monthly payment. Issuers must also provide information on how much users must pay each month if they want to pay off their balances in 36 months, including the amount of interest.
7. Late fee restrictions: Late fees are capped at $25 for occasional late payments; however, the fees can be higher if cardholders are late more than once in a six-month period.
8. Gift cards expiration rules: Gift cards cannot expire sooner than five years after they are issued. Dormancy fees can only be charged if the card is unused for 12 months or more. Issuers can charge only one fee per month, but there is no limit on the amount of the fee.
“The most vulnerable consumers, those who carry a balance, have been protected by the protections of the CARD Act,” says Chi Chi Wu, staff attorney for the National Consumer Law Center, a Boston-based consumer advocacy group. “Some of the worst abuses were addressed, including retroactive rate increases. It put the brakes on some of the fees. They are still kind of high, but it kept them from going up.”
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