Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights
April 30, 2009
Amidst the newsreports filled with stories about banks that hold massive amounts ofbad debt and dubious home loans, many consumers have seen their creditcard payments skyrocket, not because of late or missing payments, butbecause these financial institutions are trying to recoup their lossesby increasing interest rates and changing rules for unsuspectingcustomers.
In recent monthsI've heard from many consumers who've had their interest rates tripledor quadrupled, at no fault of their own, by credit card companies. The Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights,which I'm proud to be a cosponsor of and I voted for today, willprotect consumers from the unwarranted retroactive rate hikes, doublebilling cycles, and other unfair practices exercised by too many creditcard companies.
The House passed thebill today by a vote of 357-70, and it will put a permanent ceiling oncredit card interest rates, banning rates that far exceed the lendingrates of other loan products. It provides permanent protection to theaverage American consumer by ending any-time, any-reason rate hikes,requiring 45-days notice of any interest rate increase. The bill alsoimplements other meaningful reforms such as:
- Stopping excessive "over the limit" fees;
- Protecting cardholders from due date gimmicks;
- Ending unfair penalties for cardholders that pay on time; and
- Preventing companies from using misleading terms and damaging consumers' credit ratings
Good, stable creditcard customers have suffered the most during this economic crisis.These are customers who have followed the rules, paid their bills ontime, and never missed a payment. The federal government has alreadyextended a lifeline to financial institutions and it's time to helpfamilies that are struggling to tread water in the rising tide ofconsumer debt. This bill brings equity and rationale to our credit cardsystem and provides immediate financial relief to millions ofAmericans. The Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights now moves to the Senate for further consideration.
To learn more about the bill, click here.
As always, I rely on and value your thoughts and ideas on the issues you care about, so please let me hear from you.
Anna G. Eshoo
Member of Congress