What New Credit Card Laws Can Do For You

Often, the government will find itself looking at current issues in order to make decisions.  Considering this, it’s no wonder that they have recently reviewed laws regarding consumer credit and some new credit card laws have come into effect.

If you are under 21, you will not be able to receive a credit card without an older adult to co-sign the agreement unless you can prove that you have the financial resources to handle a credit card responsibly.

Many restrictions have been placed on when a credit card company can increase the amount of interest it is charging you.  Interest rates can still be changed if an introductory period has ended, if you have a variable interest rate tied to something outside of the bank itself, or you consistently have late payments.  While these restrictions expire after the first year of transactions, the company is still required to inform you forty-five days before your interest rate is due to increase and give you the option of canceling that card.

Once you receive your bill, according to law, you should have at least twenty-one days to make the payment, and your due dates cannot change suddenly.  This should give you more time to pay bills and decrease your chance of late fees.  Also, these due dates cannot be on holidays or weekends (whenever the credit card company itself is closed), or before 5 p.m.

You don’t have to be charged over-limit fees.  The alternative is that you can have the company reject your transaction if it would put you over your limit.  If you choose to still have the option of going over your limit, the over-limit charge cannot exceed the amount by which you went over.  The same applies for late fees: the fee cannot exceed the amount of the payment you were late paying.

Most recently, a credit card debt settlement law went into effect that prohibits companies from charging high fees upfront in an effort to cut down on scam artists masquerading as debt settlement agencies.  This should make it easier for you to consolidate your credit card debt.

These are only a few of the new credit card laws, but they are all laws one should think about when opening a credit card.  They should help to keep you out of debt.  If you have an existing card, they should still be following these rules, which may make your plan to get out of debt a little easier.

Many restrictions were placed on credit card issuers by the Credit CARD Act of 2009.

Kari Johnson

Kari Johnson is a first-year student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, having lived in North Carolina her whole life. At UNC, she is a declared Religious Studies major, and intends to study some form of writing as well during her time and Chapel Hill. She plans to graduate in 2014, after participating in undergraduate research and a study abroad program.

Kari discovered the magic of writing early, in elementary school, and has devoted every spare moment to it since. She writes fiction for her own amusement, and recently began writing articles for The Daily Tar Heel in Chapel Hill. Besides writing, she loves spending time with friends and family, reading, and drinking coffee. She defines herself based on her faith in God, her family roots, and her dream of one day publishing a best-selling novel.

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