With consumer credit card debt peaking in recent years, lawmakers have taken steps to ensure people know what they’re getting into before they sign up for a new credit card — and that they understand the financial impact of their credit card balances. A number of key protections for credit cardholders took effect in February. The new safeguards put limits on annual percentage rate (APR) increases for many cards, and set tighter restrictions on “over the credit limit” fees charged to cardholders.
The new laws also require that card companies clearly disclose certain account and cost information on their bills — spelling out things like interest paid year-to-date, and how much longer it will take the customer to pay off the outstanding balance if only the monthly minimum payment is made.
These new rules are in place as of February 22, 2010, joining other provisions that went into effect when the federal Credit CARD Act was passed in May 2009.
Nolo’s new article New Credit Card Rules for 2010 explains all the ins and outs of the new protections for credit cardholders.
For more consumer-friendly legal information on credit cards, check out Nolo’s Banking & Credit Cards section.