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Consumers benefit from new credit card rules

Mar 12, 2011 Brian Bradley

Consumers are seeing more favorable results from the 2009 CARD Act, which established new rules in consumer credit card protection, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports. According to the paper, there are four pivotal areas where consumers are seeing greater advantages than ever before.
 Banks can no longer raise interest rates on existing debt, while they must give consumers 45 days notice before raising interest rates on anything. That is a significant change from previous practices, through which banks could raise interest rates at any time and without warning. "An estimated $12.1 billion in previously obscure yearly charges are now more clearly stated in credit card offers," wrote Josh Frank, author of a study from the Center for Responsible Lending. Additionally, banks are pursuing fewer customers, especially potential cardholders with poor credit, the Star-Tribune found. Consumers with credit scores of 620 or below are seeing a smaller percentage of offers compared to three years ago. Lastly, banks must be clearer in their contractual language and provide clearer communication as it pertains to late payments and overdraft transactions. In addition to capping late fees at $25, banks must also notify cardholders regarding greater purchase costs should they only make minimum monthly payments.