Credit card legislation has mixed results

Arizona residents may be happier overall with how credit card companies handle their accounts following the implementation of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act, but there are still some issues that many users face. One goal of the CARD Act was to ensure that people with credit cards were not being hit with unexpected interest rate increases or an enormous amount of penalties by lenders. As a result of the legislation, many people are paying more than the minimum and the number of payments that are 30 days or more past due has dropped significantly.

Cardholders are now able to see on their statements how long it will take for them to pay off their balances if they only pay the minimum amount due. This has been an eye-opening experience for many, and a survey by a consumer advocacy group shows that nearly half of respondents increased their monthly payment amounts because of this information. Additionally, the law requires that creditors must send statements at least 21 days before payments are due, and the date must fall on the same day every month.

Still, the legislation has produced some unintended results. In addition to reducing the credit limit offered to new customers, almost 20 percent of card holders have seen their credit limits slashed. The average yearly fee for credit cards has also risen by 41 percent.

Managing credit cards can be difficult, especially if someone has large amounts of debt. Someone having difficulty handling excessive credit card debt may wish to speak to an attorney with experience in bankruptcy matters. Such an attorney may be able to determine whether bankruptcy or another form of debt relief is available.

Source: FOX Business, "Are Credit Cards More Expensive Now?", Janna Herron, September 18, 2013

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