A Squeeze on Customers Ahead of New Rules

Publication: The New York Times

Author: Andrew Martin and Lowell Bergman

11/10/2009 - Banks are struggling to make money in the credit card business these days, and consumers are paying the price. Interest rates are going up, credit lines are being cut and a variety of new fees are being imposed on even the best cardholders.

One recipient of new credit card terms is Anita Holaday, a 91-year-old in Florida, who received a letter last month from Citibank announcing that her new interest rate was 29.99 percent, an increase of 10 percentage points.

“I think it’s outrageous they pursue such a policy,” said Susan Holaday Schumacher, Ms. Holaday’s daughter, who pays her mother’s bills. “That rate is shocking under any circumstances.”

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study by The Pew Charitable Trusts, released late last month, concluded that the 12 largest banks, issuing more than 80 percent of the credit cards, were continuing to use practices that the Fed concluded were “unfair or deceptive” and that in many instances had been outlawed by Congress.

Read the full article A Squeeze on Customers Ahead of New Rules on the New York Times' 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Pew is no longer active in this line of work, but for more information visit the Safe Credit Cards Project on PewHealth.org.

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