05/12/2011 - Credit card interest rates have held steady, penalties are less costly for consumers and annual fees and other charges have changed little over the past year, according to a study released Tuesday by the Pew Safe Credit Cards Project.
"The products are safer and more transparent than they were before," says Nick Bourke, director of the nonprofit project that has tracked credit card terms, including interest rates and fees, since 2008. Pew's report was released just ahead of the two-year anniversary of landmark credit card reforms signed into law May 22, 2009, by President Obama. Bourke says Pew researchers want to know how the Credit CARD Act of 2009 has impacted consumers and if it is doing what lawmakers intended.
Among other things, the law eliminated surprise interest rate hikes, capped late fees and banned billing and payment practices deemed unfair and deceptive by federal regulators and consumer groups. Although the law was enacted nearly two years ago, the bulk of the major consumer protections did not take effect until Feb. 22, 2010. (See CARD Act time line).
Read the full article Study: 2 Years After Credit Card Reforms, Rates, Fees More Stable on the FoxBusiness.com 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Pew is no longer active in this line of work, but for more information visit the Safe Credit Cards Project on PewHealth.org.