08/24/2010 - In the past, making a late credit card payment was like forgetting your mother's birthday. Repairing the damage could take months. Sometimes, years.
Now, though, the repercussions of a tardy credit card payment may not be as long-lasting or severe. Federal rules that took effect Aug. 22 limit the amount of late fees banks can charge. The rules also make it more difficult for banks to permanently raise your interest rate if you make a late payment.
Previously, banks charged a median penalty fee of $39 for late payments or transactions that exceeded the card's limit, according to the Pew Health Group's Safe Credit Cards Project. The median penalty fee for credit unions was $25.
The law gives issuers the right to charge a higher penalty fee if they can justify the need for a higher amount. However, most issuers will probably play it safe and stick with the $25 limit, says Nick Bourke, manager of the Safe Credit Cards Project.
Read the article New Credit Card Rules Can Help, But Don't Get Complacent, in it's entirety, on the USA Today 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Pew is no longer active in this line of work, but for more information visit the Safe Credit Cards Project on PewHealth.org.