Financial Literacy - Credit savvy
Carolyn Maloney
credit cards
Credit cardholders have rights

q_v2.gifWhy must consumers wait until July 2010 before the rule changes?

a_v2.gifConsumers will have these protections much sooner if I have anything to do with it.

I am planning on reintroducing legislation to move up the implementation date from July 2010, to three months after the passage of my bill.

q_v2.gifWith new regulations set to go in place in 2010, why is further action needed on credit card reform?

a_v2.gifFirst, legislative action is needed to speed up implementation.

Second, regulation does not carry the same force of law that legislation does. It is too easy to change regulation, whereas legislation has much more staying power.

q_v2.gifIn light of the recent regulations to the credit card industry enacted by the Federal Reserve, et al., how does the 2009 version of the Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights differ from the previous version introduced last summer?

a_v2.gifI reintroduced the Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights in the 111th Congress; it is H.R. 627. The core of my legislation matches perfectly with the newly implemented regulation, but gives it the force of law and speeds up the effective date.

In a few areas, we are able to improve on the legislation by giving consumers more protections, such as banning cards to people under the age of 18 and allowing consumers to set hard caps on their credit limit to prevent them from going over the limit.

q_v2.gifCredit card companies have argued that now is exactly the wrong time to impose more rules on them and that consumers will actually suffer as a result, with less available credit and higher interest rates. Do you think there could be unintended consequences of regulating the credit card industry?

a_v2.gifIt seems like almost every day we see a story about responsible, good consumers, people who have always paid their bill on time and have never gone over their limit, getting hit with higher interest rates on their existing balance.

These are the same consumers who have seen hundreds of billions of their taxpaying dollars going to the same banks issuing these cards.

I would argue that these are the exact times we need to be protecting consumers.

Whenever you have the Federal Reserve coming out and labeling practices unfair, deceptive and anticompetitive, you know that it is time to act and protect consumers from these practices.

q_v2.gifAnother important consumer cause you've championed is that of overdraft protection. As anyone who's unwittingly racked up $100 or more in fees due to overdraft protection knows, overdraft protection is a very dangerous and expensive form of credit. What are some of the more egregious aspects of bank overdraft protection programs targeted by the Consumer Overdraft Protection Fair Practices Act?

a_v2.gifOne of my biggest concerns is that consumers too often are saddled with large overdraft fees without ever knowing that they have been enrolled in an overdraft program and sometimes without the ability to opt out.

My legislation on overdraft fees will give consumers the notice and choice they need to make informed decisions about the fees they are likely to incur on their banking transactions.

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