Monday, April 27, 2009

Gerry Connolly CoSponsors Credit Cardholder's Bill of Rights

Considering the financial crisis that we're currently facing, it is important to protect consumers rights. The Credit Cardholder’s Bill of Rights, HR 674, does just that by providing increased protections for consumers against unfair, deceptive, and anti-competitive credit card practices, is scheduled for consideration on the House floor this week. According to Gerry Connolly's office, Gerry is one of the bill's co-sponsors and the following are a few of the legislation's highlights.
  • Protects cardholders against arbitrary interest rate increases
  • Prevents cardholders who pay on time from being unfairly penalized
  • Protects cardholders from due date gimmicks
  • Shields cardholders from misleading terms
  • Empowers cardholders to set limits on their credit
  • Requires card companies to fairly credit and allocate payments
  • Prohibits card companies from imposing excessive fees on cardholders
  • Prevents card companies from giving subprime credit cards to people who can’t afford them
  • Requires Congress to provide better oversight of the credit card industry
  • Contains NO rate caps, fee setting, or price controls
The Credit Cardholder’s Bill of Rights will also prohibit penalty increases of interest rates on existing balances unless a customer is more than 30-days late, ban double-cycle billing, and require all payments to be posted to account balances in a fair and timely way. In an explanation of why he's supporting the Cardholder's Bill of Rights, Gerry pointed out that this will help consumers who might have been forced to depend on credit cards to make ends meet.

“As Americans struggle to stay afloat, more and more are turning to credit cards to make ends meet,” said Connolly. “Consumer credit card debt is now approaching $1 trillion -- double the amount held in 1996. This bill will help protect American consumers by banning retroactive rate hikes on existing balances, increasing advance notice of future rate increases, and giving cardholders more control over their credit limits.”

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