03/15/2010 - Congress passed legislation last year intended to protect consumers from the credit card industry’s most deceptive and unfair practices. The main provisions finally went into effect last month. But the Federal Reserve still has to write new rules intended to stop companies from bleeding customers dry with exorbitant fees for late payments, with charges for exceeding the credit limit, or with “any other penalty fee or charge.” Under the statute, the Fed must write rules to ensure that these fees and charges are “reasonable and proportional.”
The Fed has a long history of putting the credit card industry first and consumers far behind, and a draft of the rules released this month is disturbingly weak.
Read the full editorial The Fed’s Responsibility 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Pew is no longer active in this line of work, but for more information visit the Safe Credit Cards Project on PewHealth.org.