11/15/2009 - In some ways, credit card banks are hustling to act before new consumer rights take effect next year. In other ways, they're in no rush at all.
That conflicting pace – the rush to raise rates on existing customers; the slow shift toward embracing new rules to protect them – has been whipping up a storm among lawmakers and consumer advocates in recent days, prompting Congress to try pushing the new laws into place early.
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In July 2009, the median advertised annual percentage rates were between 12.24 and 17.99 percent, according to an October report by the Pew Health Group. That compares to a range of 9.99 to 15.99 percent in December 2008 – since then the lowest advertised bank rates have risen by more than 20 percent, while highest advertised rates rose by 13 percent.
"It's still legal to do it, so I think the issuers are continuing with business as usual until Congress tells them to stop," said Nick Bourke, who heads The Pew Charitable Trusts' Safe Credit Cards Project.
Read the full article Banks Revising Their Old Tricks on the News Journal'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Pew is no longer active in this line of work, but for more information visit the Safe Credit Cards Project on PewHealth.org.