08/24/2010 - The credit card industry is working hard to subvert the Credit Card Act of 2009, which banned many of the industry’s most predatory practices. The Federal Reserve Board, which oversees and coddles this industry, needs to ensure that consumers get the protections Congress intended, and Americans so clearly need.
The law’s final provisions went into effect this week, and if they are vigilantly enforced, they should end many of the abuses that had become standard practice.
The Fed also needs to take a hard look at problems cited last month by the Pew Charitable Trust Safe Credit Cards Project. It found that despite the law’s demands for more transparency, card issuers are still withholding important information. Companies are failing to disclose penalty interest charges, which could double or even triple the interest rate for cardholders who fall two months behind.
Read the editorial The Customer Always Comes Last 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Pew is no longer active in this line of work, but for more information visit the Safe Credit Cards Project on PewHealth.org.