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5 Tips on New Credit Card Rules

Gail Cunningham of The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), explains how to make the most of these new legal protections in an article for "Working Mother" magazine. 

Reading your credit card statement and paying your bills has just gotten easier! The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act, commonly referred to as the CARD Act, has gone into effect, and while it may sound like industry speak on the surface, it actually means a lot to every one of us who uses a credit card every day.

Many of us have been surprised when we’ve opened a credit card statement and found we have been paying unexpected fees on top of fees and interest on interest. Some of us may have thought that by paying monthly minimums we could get ahead of the debt and instead are falling farther behind. After many complaints and new recession-prompted moves by banks and credit card issuers, Congress stepped in with The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act, commonly referred to as the CARD Act (in effect as of February 22, 2010).

To help consumers, The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) explains five changes related to your credit card accounts as a result of the CARD Act, and tips to add to your smart money to-do list:

Review monthly billing statements, as they will look very different. Two new features will be added to the statements:

  1. Issuers must now include a snapshot of how long it will take to pay off a balance if you only make the minimum payment each month.  This will be contrasted against becoming debt free in three years. Many of us are unaware of how deep a financial hole we’ve dug. This new reality check provides an opportunity to stop digging deeper and start digging out
  2. Credit card issuers are now required to include a toll-free phone number on every statement telling you where you can credit counseling from legitimate nonprofit counseling agencies. READ MORE AT WORKINGMOTHER.COM.

Reader Comments (2)

Great post! Knowing your rights when it comes to credit and credit cards—and reading the fine print—is so important. Understanding credit is the first step in attaining financial freedom and flexibility. We have talked about this very thing on our Children’s Aid blog too.

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