03/31/2009 - Democrats in Congress are taking a swipe at credit card issuers and their increasingly creative reasons for raising fees on strapped consumers, sparking a well-financed duel over how to crack down on alleged abuses.
Striking the right balance between getting credit moving again and protecting consumers who depend on it is a long and complex process and nowhere near complete. But lawmakers were hoping to advance consumer-friendly legislation before they head home for Easter at the end of the week and face their constituents - 12.5 million of whom are out of work.
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Research released Tuesday by the Pew Safe Credit Cards Project exploring the online offers of the 12 largest credit card issuers , 88 percent of outstanding credit card debt , show that borrowers face tough terms on credit cards.
All 100 percent of those cards allowed the issuer to apply payments "in a manner which, according to the Federal Reserve, is likely to cause substantial monetary injury to consumers," the research showed. A slightly smaller group, 93 percent, of cards allowed issuers to raise any interest rate at any time by changing the account agreement, Pew said.
Read the full article Congress Considers Limits on Credit Card Companies on the Philadelphia Inquirer's Web site.
Pew is no longer active in this line of work, but for more information visit the Safe Credit Cards Project on PewHealth.org.