December 18, 2008


After years of brutal and what should be criminal business practices by America's credit card industry, it appears that some relief may be in sight.

WASHINGTON – Federal regulators on Thursday adopted sweeping new rules for the credit card industry that will shield consumers from increases in interest rates on existing account balances among other changes.

The new rules aren't set to take effect until 2010, but they're welcome nevertheless.

The new rules prohibit:

_Placing unfair time constraints on payments. A payment could not be deemed late unless the borrower is given a reasonable period of time, such as 21 days, to pay.

_Placing too-high fees for exceeding the credit limit solely because of a hold placed on the account.

_Unfairly computing balances in a computing tactic known as double-cycle billing.

_Unfairly adding security deposits and fees for issuing credit or making it available.

_Making deceptive offers of credit.

I've had to deal with several of the above issues in the past and know first hand how quickly credit card fees and increased interest rates can bloat your balance and spiral out of control. Luckily, I was able to stop the bleeding, but thousands of people have not been able to do so and have ended up in financial and personal ruin. These regulations are long overdue.

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