In response to a recent upswing of activities in the credit card industry, the US House of Representatives decided to revise the effective date of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act. Congress is now pushing the Credit CARD Act to be implemented earlier than its original date of 2010.
When the Credit CARD Act was first introduced, credit card companies and firms took it as an ominous sign that their days of dictating rates and fees were numbered. Trying to make hay while the sun is still up, unscrupulous credit card companies started to jack up interest rates and add credit card fees which caught the public flat-footed. There has been a barrage of complaints and protests since then, with consumers enraged at what they perceived to be unjust and underhanded tactics.
The Credit CARD Act was originally slated to take effect in 2010, however, with a sudden twist of events, Congress moved to have this bill passed earlier. The bill is now up for review in the Senate and from there will just be one step away from becoming a full-fledged law. Final approval will be coming from the Chief Executive himself, President Barack Obama. This whole process is projected to be completed before the end of the year, well ahead of its original date.
The House decided on the original dates to give credit card companies time to prepare and adjust to the new rule. Instead credit card companies and banks took it as a cue to raise interest rates and introduce new fees which prompted the Congress to intervene.
House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, accused credit card companies of wrongful and abusive business practices whose appetite for profit supersedes that of consumer welfare. She further elaborated that Congress would not tolerate such insensitive and callous behaviour to prevail and that the House would exhaust all legal means to protect consumer welfare and rights.
The revised bill would put an abrupt stop to interest rate hikes and introduction of additional credit card fees. It would also mandate companies to review accounts that have been subjected to sudden rate increases since the beginning of January this year, and to reverse all hikes that will be found to have been unjustly imposed on unsuspecting customers.
Meanwhile a legislator from Connecticut, Senator Chris Dodd, has proposed legislation that would effectively stop companies from imposing further interest and fee increases. With the Credit CARD Act still being reviewed, Senator Dodd suggested that his proposed bill be implemented immediately in light of public interest.