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Rep. Clarke Announces Additional Consumer Protections to Go into Effect in the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights

On Sunday, August 22, two additional provisions in HR. 627, the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights, will be going into effect. The President signed the bill in May 2009 and most of the bill’s provisions became effective in August 2009 and February 2010.

“Studies show that the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights will lead to billions of dollars in savings for America’s consumers each year. This translates into hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in savings for individual households in my district because Congress said ‘Enough is Enough’ to the credit card companies,” said Rep. Yvette D. Clarke.

The two additional provisions of the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights that go into effect are:

1) requiring penalty fees for such things as late payments to be reasonable and proportional; and

2) requiring credit card companies, if they raise your interest rate, to re-evaluate that rate increase every 6 months and, if appropriate, reduce that rate within 45 days after completing the evaluation.

Some of the key consumer protections in the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights that went into effect in August 2009 and February 2010 include:

•Prohibitions of retroactive interest rate hikes on existing balances.

•Prohibitions of double-cycle billing (charging interest twice on balances paid on time).

•Requiring fairness of due dates, including requiring statements be mailed 21 days in advance of the payment date and requiring the payment date to remain the same each month.

•Requirements that there be 45-days’ advance notice of interest rate, fee and finance charge hikes.

•Strengthened credit card protections for young people.

•Requirements that billing statements from credit card companies be clear, be in plain English, and show how long a balance will take to be fully paid off if only the minimum payment is made.

“Requiring penalty fees by credit card companies to be reasonable and proportional, which goes into effect on August 22, will be another key protection for America’s consumers – ensuring consumers no longer face disproportionate penalties by creditors,” Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke concluded.