US credit card reforms slammed by banks

21 August 2008

An upcoming Congress bill aimed at preventing providers from introducing sudden fees and rate increases from credit card firms might prove counterproductive, according to US bankers.

Under the terms of the bill, the hikes must only take effect after 45 days of notice has been given, and credit card contracts cannot be changed for any reason.

Penalties can take the form of interest rate increases on balances for offences such as stopping a check payment, Bloomberg reports.

However, if these are prevented, general charges could go up across the board, the American Bankers Association ha s said.

Speaking to the news agency, the body's senior vice president Ken Clayton commented: "The tough charges introduced by US credit card firms are causing consumer outrage."

However, representative Carolyn Maloney - who is sponsoring the bill through Congress - said that the new legislation was necessary in order to protect consumers.

"Now more than ever, we need to end unfair and deceptive credit-card lending practices that make it difficult for consumers to control their credit and manage their debt," she said.

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