New credit card rules explained

February 17, 2010 5:47:37 AM PST
Millions of Americans have been hit hard by credit card interest rate hikes and fees that trap them in a never-ending cycle of debt. But starting on February 22, consumers will get some relief from predatory credit card lending practices. That's when new safeguards adopted by Congress last year will go into effect, giving consumers new protections from abusive and deceptive credit card practices.

However, even as these new protections go into effect, consumers need to be on the lookout for the latest credit card tricks and traps.

Gail Hillebrand, Director of Consumers Union's Defend Your Dollars campaign, will be available live via satellite from Consumers Union's headquarters in Yonkers, N.Y. on Wednesday, February 17, from 4:30 AM CT to 11 AM CT.

What are the key new credit card protections that are going into effect on February 22?

* The key new credit card protections. How will consumers be better protected than they were a year ago? Hillebrand will explain how the new law will help stop credit card companies from arbitrarily jacking up interest rates on money that's already been borrowed, make it easier for consumers to pay their bills on time, and curb unfair fees like charges for paying by phone or online.


The Credit Card Act:
Before: 14 days to pay bill
After: 21 days

The Credit Card Act:
Before: 15 days warning of term changes
After: 45 days

What are some unfair credit card practices that aren't covered by the new law?

* What's not covered by the new law. Credit card companies still have plenty of tricks up their sleeve. Hillebrand will explain how credit card companies can still hike interest rates on future card purchases even for customers who always pay their bills on time and highlight the latest credit card tricks and traps not covered by the new law.

What are some tips for consumers to avoid the credit card tricks and traps?

* Tips for consumers. Hillebrand will offer advice on how to avoid getting trapped by predatory credit card practices and what consumers can do if they think they are being treated unfairly by their credit card company.

More information is available at