May 19 2009|04.32 PM UTC

BillShrink Guy

Details: Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009

Category: CreditTags: , , , ,

With an exciting and attention grabbing name as titled above, how can you ignore the Senate’s Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009? (Also known as The Credit C.A.R.D Act of 2009. I know, super original).

“But wait, BillShrink Guy,” you ask, “Didn’t the Fed just pass new credit card regulation last year? And didn’t the House just pass a credit card Bill of Rights last month? What’s with all these different laws and regulations? My head hurts, and I just want my credit card to be nice to me.”

I’m glad you asked that question, and like you, I just want my credit card to play nice too.

The Credit CARD Act of 2009 brings stronger protection to the table for all of us. Here’s a clear-cut list of additional changes the just-passed Senate bill provides:

Interest rate increase protection. A card’s Interest rate can no longer be raised on a cardholder unless the account is 60 days late.  The increased rate will have to be restored to the previous level if a cardholder pays on time for six months.  An interest rate cannot be increased within the first 12 months, and promotional rates must be a minimum of 6 months.

Advance notice of term changes. Credit card companies will now have to notify customers with a 45 days advance notice of any significant changes to the terms of their credit card, this now includes changes to benefits such as reward structures.

Limiting credit cards to younger adults. The legislation bans credit cards for people under the age of 21 unless they have an adult co-signer or show proof that they have the means to repay the debt.  College students will be required to receive permission from parents or guardians to increase credit limit on joint accounts they hold with those adults.

Reduction on gift card hidden fees. Gift cards are now required to remain active for at least five years from the day of activation.  Dormancy or inactivity fees on gift cards can no longer be imposed unless there has been no activity in a 12-month period.  The dormancy fee has to be disclosed clearly to gift card buyers.

Proper notification of bill and processing of payments. Credit card companies must send your bill out no later than 21 days before the due date.   Payment must be credited as on-time if payment is received by 5 P.M. on the due date.

The Senate’s Credit CARD Act of 2009 will now most likely be consolidated along with the House’s Credit Cardholder’s Bill of Rights Act of 2009 and be signed into law by President Obama before the Memorial Day congressional recess.  If there’s any major changes to the credit card reform in the near future, you can be sure a detailed update will appear on your friendly neighorhood money blog, Shrinkage is Good!

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

tracie June 4, 2009 at 6:55 pm

One thing I wish more people would comment on is the explosion of mandatory arbitration agreements. I just got another update, this one from my phone company, stating all the limitations I have for challenging them in court. Overall, the bill lacked any real bite.


Pat Lukes June 5, 2009 at 5:45 am

I’m so very disappointed in this website This is the note that I sent to them this morning after trusting this site.

“Wow…I thought with all the press you’ve gotten, your website was a Godsend. But it turns out that the credit card companies are using your site to further screw the customers. I applied for a card through HSBC stating $0 dollars the first year. It mentioned NO balance transfer fee. I applied, got it and the found out that it was untrue. I got a 3% balance transfer fee and only 6 months of 0% interest. I simply cannot keep applying for cards thinking I’m going to get a good one. I want to speak with you about this, since your website was recommended by ABC, NBC, etc. I would like a consumer affairs reporter to follow up on your service, but wanted to first give you the opportunity to explain why you allow these companies to mislead us. I’m very angry.”

Billshrink needs to do a better job screening the companies and banks they promote. HSBC disgusts me in their approach to giving credit cards to customers. You think you’re applying for one card and you get another.


Pat Lukes June 10, 2009 at 5:40 am

Further conversations with HSBC/GM have convinced me that Billshrink should drop them from their lineup.

They claim they have nothing to do with Billshrink, but yet provide all the credit card information for the referrals on this site. It is bait and switch with these people. I’m so sorry I ever heard of this site. My suggestion is to Google what you’re looking for and apply online. It’s too late for me. I’m stuck with a bad credit card and even worse customer service through HSBC/GM.


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