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What the New Credit Card Bill Means For You

Consumers have been playing by credit card companies' rules, and now the companies are going to have to play by the president's rules. President Obama is expected to sign new credit card legislation known as the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act, which Congress approved Wednesday in a 361-to-64 vote. The legislation will reform the way credit card companies run their businesses, affecting everything from interest rate policies to gift cards. To learn some of the important provisions in the bill,


  • Customers must be over 60 days late on payments before banks can apply penalty interest rates on existing balances.
  • Card companies will have to give notification 45 days before raising customers' interest rates.
  • Credit card statements must be issued 21 days before a customer's bill is due.
  • Late fees will not be applied to payments made by 5 p.m. on the bill's due date, and the same goes for payments due on holidays or Sundays and received a day later.
  • Cardholders will have to be alerted when a purchase will set them over their credit limit. A fee can be applied only if the customer has given authorization to go over the limit.
  • Now there's something else you can't do until you're 21. The law will require anyone under 21 to have a co-signer on cards, unless the person can show proof of income.
  • Gift cards: Dormancy fee information must be printed on the cards and the buyer must be informed of any fees at the time they're purchasing gift cards. Cards and certificates cannot expire before five years of the card's issue date and terms of expiration will be printed on the cards.


Join The Conversation
OChottie OChottie 8 years
There is something called a secured credit card and I'm sure students would still be able to get those.
4evrfuzzy 4evrfuzzy 8 years
I can't believe ANYONE would have an issue with this bill. Most of you sound like you work for the Satanist credit card corporation. All of you need to go to netflix and watch maxed out! Plus, where on earth did you hear that the interest would be applied the moment you make a purchase? That's ludicrous. That's the whole point of a credit card.
expresso14 expresso14 8 years
I'm not sure if I like the under 21 rule. I got my first card at 19 with an $800 limit (this was also years ago). The CC said that limit would remain until I graduated. As someone who pays in full every month, I'm a little nervous about the rumors CC companies will start bringing back annual fees or charging interest from the date of purchase (I've already seen cuts in the rewards program). If they do, the card is getting canceled.
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
I actually kind of like the new 21 age rule. I got my first credit card when I was 19 with a $4,000 credit limit. What 19 year old needs a $4,000 credit limit??? Needless to say, I wasn't very responsible with my credit card when I was younger. A very painful and expensive lesson.
spookymari spookymari 8 years
Gee I hope they don't do something stupid like try to apply that under 21 rule retroactively, because that will cause a big headache for people like me, who are sick of being treated like half a person until they reach some magical age whereupon you're bestowed with a soul or something. In other news, a lot of these new rules would help me out tremendously. Especially the one where it makes it impossible for me to pay on a card online at 4pm the day before, and have the payment applied to my account suspiciously an hour after I get an overlimit fee the next day. I was responsible and paid my card down so that my purchase would not affect my limit, they simply used underhanded billing tactics to get more money out of me.
GreenGrass GreenGrass 8 years
<21-year-old does not need a co-signer if they can prove a source of income. I think this is perfectly reasonable. If the <21-year-old cannot demonstrate the capacity to repay they credit card debt why should they be granted a line of credit? This policy does teach responsiblity - don't spend money you don't have. (this second half of my comment didn't post for some reason...)
GreenGrass GreenGrass 8 years
Anonymous - The article says that the <21-year-old does not need a co-signer if they can prove they have a source of income. I think this is perfectly reasonable. If the <21-year-old cannot demonstrate capacity to repay the credit card debt why should they be granted a line of credit. This does teach responsiblity - don't spend money you don't have.
bluepuppybites bluepuppybites 8 years
About effin time...I know credit cards are there for a reason, but unless someone has truly shown you how to use them responsibly, they most likely get the user into serious trouble
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