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Thank You Congress for Putting Pressure on the Credit Card Companies!

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Much to the dismay of credit card companies, Congress held a conference today to discuss some of the tricky fees and penalties that credit cards impose on customers (not to mention the gobbely-gook in the fine print – I don’t even understand all of it, do you?).

Of course, banks and credit card companies are not happy. As for me, those fees and insane interest rates make me angry. And when I read stories of people trapped with high interest rates after one mistake, it makes me sad.

For more details on this, check out this nice post from Andrea at Wisebread. Make sure you check out the video at the bottom of the post. It’s priceless ๐Ÿ™‚


12 Comments

  • Reply Tim |

    it’s all posturing by congress. i’ll run around naked in my house with all the shades up the day we see credit card regulations.

    although CC comanies have some insane things, people cannot be let go of personal responsibility. we all know there will be late fees, over limit fees, high interest rates…yet people still want to charge etc. now things like universal default, lowest interest first, etc, i definitely think needs to be regulated.

  • Reply basil bizarro |

    I think it’s better progress than we’ve seen under a Republican Congress. Since Providian was President Bush’s biggest supporter, I can understand why.

    At least it’s being talked about by a body that if it has the guts, can make some changes to this loansharking industry. It’s great viewing on CSPAN, if you have it.

  • Reply bryan |

    Yes its true that things are progressing these days.hope one day credit card companies can feel for the normal people.

  • Reply Karen |

    Speaking of credit cards and their shenanigans, here is a story for you. I stopped charging and started an aggressive debt repayment program last year (thanks for all your tips and motivation – you were an inspiration to me). I had consolidated my debt to one credit card and just make one payment. I also have part of the balance on 3.9% and part on 4.9% interest rate. I’ve had this card for many years; the due date has for several years been between the 16-18th. In January, when I paid my bill online, I also set up the February payment to be paid on the 16th Feb (I get paid on the 16th). I was shocked when, on Feb 14, I checked and my due date was the 13th!!!! Now, I do have some accountability in this because I did not look at my statement closely, since I knew I had already set up the payment. I really think that someone (or some computer) monitors these things and tries to use any tactics possible to get more money. I called and Chase will refund the late fee; but isn’t is strange that the first and ONLY time I set up my payment in advance, the due date was moved up? Feel free to use this to warn others. The reason was supposedly they are “going from 25 day grace period to 20 day grace period….” I would say they are not happy that I am FINALLY paying down my balance and not incurring further debt. I will be so happy when I pay this off!!!!

  • Reply Donna |

    Regarding Karen’s story, I do wish the CC companies would stick with one single day as the due date each month. I’ve got caught on this as well. I would rather pay more a few cents/dollars interest each month than all of a sudden have a late fee and an increase in my interest rates. Also, if they changed to a 20 day grace period does that mean you might have 13 bills in one year rather than 12?

    Did you know that last year almost half of the profits (not income) of the CC companies came from all their add on fees? I can’t wait to take my share of their profits away.

  • Reply Credit Repair |

    Hey congrats on your website. I find you via New York TImes.

    You’re doing a great job and offering a valuable resource for consumers.

    Marc

  • Reply debtonator |

    Dunno how many of BAD readers are aware that there’s a class action settlement out there called Currency Conversion Fee Antitrust Litigation related to undisclosed fees on CC charges abroad. If you had CC charges while traveling abroad between February 1, 1996 and November 8, 2006, you’re elible to share in the settlement. Check out: http://www.ccfsettlement.com/

  • Reply jp |

    To combat the sudden “changing of due dates” issue, I made sure that most of my statement dates are between the 26th to 28th of the month. There was one that would not change, Firestone. No worries, they give 0% APR for 3 to 6 months on transactions with reasonable minimums due. They also give 5% rebates. I pay according to my cashflow and spending plan. By the 5th of the month most of my statements are on-line for viewing. On the 10th of the month I schedule all of my payment transactions. I write maybe 1 to 3 checks per month and I use my spending plan well enough to know ahead of time what I need to be ready for at least 30 to 60 days ahead. This takes about 10 to 15 minutes a month. If anything sudden comes up I know how much I have to deal with it or how to budget payments over a longer period of time if needed. I also asked my Citi account to lower my APR and they cut it to 3.90% until April 2008. I put balance transfers in CD’s and earn cash that way. I keep most money in high yield interest bearing accounts (ING and Emitgrant Direct). Since most bills are due at the same time I know the money is there and it has earned a bit of interest to boot. By changing my payment habits to suit my needs rather than to service my accounts I have made money with my money rather than get no value from my cashflow. This structure has aided in my ability to grow my savings account. I pay most accounts via ING Direct’s new bill pay service, it pays 4% to 5.30% based on your balance. I pay a bit more than the minimum due soon after the bill arrives and the balance is paid a couple of days before it is due. That way if anything outrageous happens I am covered and no late fees accrue. The credit card company moved my date because they noticed I paid early. I called them immediately and they changed it back. I was not interested in their explanation of “better service based on my payment history.” With a set date to handle bills I am not overwhelmed, I can handle changes and have a plan of action that best serves me. I have my calendar available to make sure due dates don’t fall on weekends or holidays. If they do, I schedule the payment for a couple of days early. Using these informative websites has made a real difference in keeping me informed and proactive. Once I got my protocols and requirements in place I now am empowered to handle my finances and have the card companies respond to me as a valued customer rather than another source for their cash stream. By having these protocols in place when the universal default came and Chase changed over to the two-cycle finance charge rule I held on and maintained steady payments and lower interest rates. FYI – Chase just sent a notice they will no longer use the two-cycle finance charge. Yipee, another win! I digress. This empowerment was not always the case for me. Now having learned valuable lessons I was able to avoid the momentary credit card madness. It feels good.

    Stay strong!

So, what do you think ?