05.19.09

Cantwell Protects Consumers from Excessive Credit Card Fees

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) voted to protect consumers from excessive credit card fee increases and other costly practices.  Cantwell joined 90 of her colleagues by passing the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act.  This legislation will put fairness back into credit cards by prohibiting credit card companies from arbitrary increases to interest rates on existing account balances and other unfair practices. 

 

“Credit cards have become a fact of life for millions of middle class consumers,” said Senator Cantwell.  “But the credit card companies, who profit from excessive interest rates and unfair fees, are pushing these Americans further and further into debt.  It’s time to protect the American consumer and level the playing field in the interest of fairness and commonsense. The only way we can do that is to ensure that information is conveyed to the consumer in a timely and honest manner.”

 

The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act provides strong protections against predatory credit card practices by:

  • Prohibiting retroactive increases and universal default on existing balances;
  • Prohibiting unfair application and timing of card payments;
  • Protecting cardholders who pay on time;
  • Limiting fees and penalties;
  • Ensuring that cardholders are informed of the terms of their account;
  • Protecting young consumers from credit card solicitations;
  • Providing additional consumer protections such as prohibiting issuers from raising rates during the first year after account opening;
  • Protecting consumers from high fee subprime cards;
  • Requiring study of credit card interchange fees; and
  • Protecting recipients of gift cards by requiring all gift cards to have at least a five-year life span.

 

 

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