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Credit Card Laws

The laws on credit cards are changing, but that’s not stopping the credit card companies from trying to make some changes that benefit them before the changes take effect. Some of the laws that are being adjusted will protect consumers from practices that were thought to be unfair in the past – such as raising a person’s interest rate for no reason or suddenly starting to charge a fee for something that was free in the past with little to no warning. The changes in credit card laws will also help alleviate a lot of the billing practices that have been seen as so confusing in the past.

How the Laws Affect Consumers
The credit card laws provide sweeping changes that many people think have been needed for years. For a long time, credit card companies have mostly been able to do what they want. Since they’ve been holding all the cards, consumers can end up with serious credit problems for the smallest of infractions. If a consumer has always paid on time in the past but his current payment arrives one day late, credit card companies had the right to raise his interest rate to the maximum allowed by law – usually somewhere between 20 and 30 percent. Obviously, that’s a bit harsh for a good customer.

How the Credit Card Companies Are Dealing With the Laws
Credit card companies are not happy with the laws that are being enacted. It will restrict how much they can charge and, more importantly, it will make how they charge customers more transparent. The companies will have to show how long the customer would pay if he only made the minimum payment, along with how much it would cost him in interest. That helps people decide whether they want to make that minimum payment or pay more to lower their balance faster.

Protect Yourself From Bad Credit Practices
Even with the new credit card laws, there will still be unscrupulous companies out there. If you’ve been affected by one of those companies and the bad credit practices that come along with them, speak up. Don’t be taken for granted. Make sure you look at your credit card bills thoroughly to see that you’re not being overcharged. Read what you’re agreeing to before you get any new credit, too, in case there are clauses in there that you don’t feel comfortable about.

Report Things You Know Are Not Right
When you see something about your credit card statements or your credit report that isn’t correct, be sure to contact the company and get it straightened out. If you call right away or send a dispute letter, you have a better chance of getting the company to take care of the problem. Waiting in the hope that they’ll take care of it without you saying something isn’t a good choice. If the company made a mistake they might not catch it, and if it was done deliberately, it’ll only get corrected if you point it out and make it clear you won’t stand for it. Don’t let yourself be a victim.

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