Credit Cards

Tips, news, reviews, caveats, trends, updates and analysis related to consumer and business credit cards, and prepaid debit cards. From the interest rate specialists @

Monday, August 04, 2008

H.R. 5244: The Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights Act of 2008

Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights Act of 2008I had just about given up on Congress when they enacted the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act back in the spring of 2005 [1][2][3]. The bill gave the banks what they wanted, and made it harder for those in financial dire straits to declare bankruptcy, even poor folks who got into trouble due to high medical bills. The new law makes it more difficult for deadbeats to get away with not paying their bills -- and I have no problem with that -- but it also punishes those who deserve the kind of help that only bankruptcy can provide.

Now it seems that Congress is on its way back to representing the people instead of focusing on doing whatever the Corporate America-controlled lobbyists want.

Last week, the House Financial Services Committee passed by a vote of 39-27 the "Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights Act" (H.R. 5244.) If this bill is passed into law, things like double-cycle billing and universal default will become illegal. This bill still has a long way to go before becoming law, but it's a very good start. The bill was introduced by Democrat Representative Carolyn Maloney of New York on February 7TH, 2008, and still must go through debate, a vote in the House, a vote in the Senate and finally a signature by the President. Godspeed.

Don't get me wrong. I love credit cards, especially 0% cards that also feature generous cash back rewards. If this bill becomes law, much needed checks would be put into place to keep the credit-card banks from abusing their considerable power, and consumers would be able to spend with their plastic, secure in the knowledge that the credit-card playing field is reasonable and fair. Nothing wrong with that. That's the American way.

I wouldn't be surprised if passing H.R. 5244 into law boosted consumer spending; more spending is something the U.S. economy needs right now and for many months ahead[1][2]. In my humble opinion, I don't think the recent stimulus payments will do much to ward of a recession. I think most folks used the bulk of that money to pay down debt and/or shore up their savings. If we must endure a recession, let's hope that it's short and shallow. Amen.

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Saturday, August 02, 2008

Credit Card Debt: State Rankings

Credit Card Debt: State RankingsIf you've ever wondered how your state ranks in terms median credit card debt per borrower, then check out this page, brought to you by the good folks at Americans for Fairness in Lending.

Scroll down the same page at the website and you'll find a form that anyone can use to quickly and easily contact the Federal Reserve and share with them experiences dealing with credit-card banks. There are literally tens of thousands of letters. I think it's a safe bet that reform is on the way.

It's good to see that the Fed is on the credit card reform bandwagon.

FYI: If you decide to submit your story, it may be made public here, so don't send anything too sensitive or too personal, like your credit card number or social security number.

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