Considering the benefits
At the same time, there have been some benefits to the CARD Act:
- Fewer late fees. The CARD Act required that billing cycles be standardized, and that customers are given at least 21 days to pay a credit card bill. In one snapshot comparison, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that between January and November 2010 monthly late fees had dropped by $474 million. This suggests that consumers may be paying around $5 billion less in late fees every year than before the CARD Act.
- Fewer over-the-limit fees. Similar to overdraft fees on your checking account, over-the-limit fees are charged if you exceed your credit limit. The CARD Act banned credit card companies from charging this type of fee unless you expressly opt into the program. If you don't opt in, transactions that would exceed your credit limit are simply denied. Since the new law, many credit card companies have backed away from over-the-limit fees: Only 40% of credit card offers feature those fees now, compared with 95% before the CARD Act.
- Lower over-the-limit fees. Perhaps because credit card companies now have to persuade you to opt in on fees for exceeding the credit limit, those fees have become more competitive. CardRatings.com found that the average maximum over-the-limit fee is now about $14, down from $33 in late 2008.
Advocates of the CARD Act would claim one other benefit: that the law has limited the circumstances under which interest rates can be raised in reaction to economic events, your payment history and your changing credit status. However, if credit card companies have responded by raising rates in advance and across the board, it hardly seems that consumers are better off.
Shifting the burden among credit cardholders
At this point, it is impossible to tell how much the lower fees in some areas are counteracted by higher fees in others as a result of the CARD Act, but the 800-pound gorilla in the discussion is the $16.8 billion potential added annual cost due to higher interest rates.
Besides the likelihood of a higher overall cost, one thing the CARD Act has clearly done is shift the way the cost burden is distributed among cardholders. By protecting cardholders who are late with payments or have credit problems, the CARD Act seems to have caused cardholders in general, including customers with excellent credit, to pay higher interest rates.
But wait, there's more. The implications of the CARD Act go beyond the reach of that particular law. The CARD Act was followed a year later by the Dodd-Frank financial reforms, which included a variety of regulations addressing checking account fees. The similarity is that both have produced some unintended consequences. The consistent theme is that when regulators micromanage the banking business to benefit certain customers, the outcome seems to be higher costs for everyone.
More from CardRatings.com:
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
This 'reform' is another example of government supposed good intentions with unintended consequences. The bottom line is people are responsible for their own credit, save cases of id theft. No one can force an individual to use credit. It is up to the individual to use it responsibly.
The only role government really has in this issue is education. Personal finance is not taught in school. No one shows kids how to balance a checkbook, how credit works or the long term impact of money decisions. I will say I had the pleasure of teaching "Finance University" at Junior Achievement to a group of 8th graders. It was amazing how quickly they caught on. Hopefully it will stick.
If you don't already know these financial companies are going to find way, after way, after way, OF GETTING THEIR HANDS ON YOUR MONEY.....YOU DON'T DESERVE A CC!
Cut em up, throw them away, unless you can keep your spending under control. Don't like annual fees, there are cards out there with ZERO fees, I have two of them and not paid a fee (not even interest) in 6-8 years on my cards.
Just go look, you can find them........if your credit is any good!
Wouldn't have needed to make any changes had credit card companies not been greedy (they still are) and if consumers had lived within their means. It the government cannot run this country within its means, how the bloody hell are consumers going to learn to live within their means.
Think people! Do you really need it, or do you just want it?
Yet ANOTHER Obama failure coming down the pike.............
He needs another term just to try and break even, as he breaks taxpayers bank accounts in the process!
Those people with a poor credit history and are poor credits risks SHOULD pay higher rates IF they have credit cards at all. The banks are taking a risk....and, if they continue their irresponsible behavior, the burden of restitution will be spread over the other card holders in their rates.
Credit cards are, in actuality, short term loans. Would YOU lend some of these people YOUR money ?? If used correctly, credit cards are a convenience and a useful alternative to carrying cash. But we should not be subsidizing poor risks.
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