The Huffington Post has a great piece by Caleb Gibson on the details of the bill and why even more is needed:
Pushback against egregiously unfair lending practices in the credit card market is mounting. And it looks like Washington is finally getting the message. On Thursday, the House of Representatives passed the Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights by a landslide vote of 357-70. The bill, championed by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), would enact basic standards that eliminate some of the most exploitative practices in the business. Card companies will no longer be able to retroactively raise the interest rate on existing balances--except under limited circumstances, such as a 30-day delinquency. (This will put an end to "any time, any reason" rate increases) When the credit card companies do increase an interest rate, they will be required to give customers 45 days' notice. In addition, interest may only be tallied on balances in the current billing cycle, statements will be mailed earlier in the billing cycle, payments will always be allocated to the portion of the balance with the highest interest rate, and hefty fees for over-limit transactions will be banned unless cardholders explicitly permit it ahead of time.
Well, not so fast. Unfortunately, there is a 12-month lag between enactment and implementation. Congress is essentially outlawing these practices as harmful to consumers and then allowing them to continue for a year. Indebted Americans cannot wait a year for fair treatment when every day brings more bad news for the family bottom line.
Gibson works for the excellent advocacy organization Demos.
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