New credit card laws go into effect today. here's a good article by James Brown which describes the details:
Do New Credit Card Laws in February Mean a Solution to Credit Card Debt?
Though the new credit card rules were put forth in 2009, many of the biggest consumer protections won't go into effect until February 22nd. So, what are these big consumer protections? Here are some of the highlights:
- Any credit card holder now reserves the right to say no to any account changes. His or her account will be closed based on the old terms and he or she will be given 5 years, if they choose to opt out.
- People under 21 cannot get a credit card unless they have an adult co-signer or they can show proof of enough income. The new laws have also included some extra protection for students, going as far as to specify the amount of yards a credit card company must be away from the campus in order to make any sort of offer.
- Companies will now give card holders at least 21 days to make any monthly payments. This should stop credit card companies from arbitrarily moving up or changing due dates in order to collect late fees. - Card companies are now required to disclose to the card holder the consequences of making a minimum payment every month. Companies will finally tell their card holders how much time it will truly take to pay off, how much interest they are looking at, and more.
- In the event that a card holder has multiple accounts, payments that exceed the minimum payment will be applied to accounts with higher interest balances first.
If you are thinking that these new laws are the answer to your prayers for finding a solution to credit card debt, you may not be thinking about the big picture. It sounds wonderful that they are giving you the option to close your account if the terms of service are changed but, how likely are you to go without a credit card? Credit card debt statistics show that the dependency Americans have on credit cards has only grown—and a change in interest rate just might not be enough to make you break things off with your MasterCard.
These new rules will undoubtedly cut into the profits of the big card companies, also. So, if they can't collect late fees or extend the terms of payment for card holders, will they just take it as a loss? Doubt it. Credit card companies will want to protect their profits. They will find another way to make money—and one way that they will probably do it is to get more serious with their collection efforts. The need for a St. Louis Missouri or Fairview Heights Illinois bankruptcy attorney to provide credit card debt help may not be over.
If you need help with your credit card debt help now, these laws are probably a little late. Contact the best bankruptcy attorney in your area to find out if Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Missouri and Illinois could be the solution to credit card debt for which you've been looking.
Missouri Bankruptcy attorney James Brown has been working to relieve the debt of hard-working American families for over 15 years. He has dedicated his career to educating consumers about options for debt relief and has released 5 publications, including, "Get Out of Debt: Secrets Your Creditors Don't Want You to Know." You can request a free copy at http://www.castlelaw.net