APP Editorial: Curb Credit Card Industry Now

credit cardsWho, besides members of Congress, didn’t see this coming? Back in May, the Credit CARD Act of 2009 was signed into law, promising Americans relief from unfair and deceptive credit card practices like “any time, any reason” rate hikes. Thing is, it doesn’t take effect until Feb. 2010. Needless to say, the credit card companies took advantage of the interim period by ripping off consumers even more than prior to the passage of the law.

Research released last week by The Pew Health Group’s Safe Credit Cards team shows credit card issuers not only were still using the deceptive practices the new law will ban, but doing so more aggressively. Interest rates have jumped 20 percent since January.

The Pew study also found that 99.7 percent of bank cards allowed issuers to increase rates on outstanding balances — a jump from 93 percent since December 2008 — and that 90 percent of bank cards had penalty rate hikes with the vast majority imposed by “hair triggers” of one or two late payments in a year.

In response, the House of Representatives last week voted to accelerate the core provisions of the bill and the Senate is considering similar proposals. They need to act immediately to give consumers in this battered economy some breathing room during the holiday shopping season.

It’s sickening the industry has chosen to gouge its customers one more time before the law stops them — sickening and remarkably short-sighted. They would be better off reining in the predatory practices that caused financially strapped cardholders to either default on their accounts or curtail usage.

Congress needs to get the provisions of the Credit CARD Act of 2009 into the hands of families in 2009.

Now would be good.

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  1. I myself just got bomboozled with this. However I called those toeles harabbim guys and they were a great help. Now I am fighting back and the credit card issuers are losing out. They should have been more honest. Now they will suffer.

  2. Of course it will absolutely trash your credit. Depending upon what they negotiate and the length of time it takes to pay the debt off, from a credit perspective, you might be better off declaring bankruptcy.

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