The U.S. House voted on Wednesday to freeze credit-card interest rates and fees for nine months and to immediately impose strict new credit card rules currently set to take effect on February 22nd or later. According to the Wall Street Journal, “the 331-92 vote comes after lawmakers have been flooded with complaints from consumers furious that issuers raised interest rates, increased minimum payments and lowered credit limits. Dozens of Republicans joined Democrats to approve the measure (2009).”
Credit card companies are getting ahead on restrictions and boosting interest rates. Bugg’s stated, “The average rate offered to a consumer with a solid 700 credit score is now 11.51 percent on a variable rate card, up from 10.66 percent in March, according to Bankrate.com. And a report released last week found that 100 percent of credit cards offered online by the largest 12 bank issuers in the United States continue to include practices that will be illegal when the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act, passed in May, takes full effect next year (2009).” In some cases rates are doubling as high as 30 percent or more even for people who are paying their bills.
According to the Associated Press, “The changes required under the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act, or CARD Act, could go a long way to stop deceptive practices in the card industry. But before that happens, card issuers are grabbing what they can from the millions of Americans who are their customers (2009).”