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Should consumers expect another CARD act?

Many New Jersey residents have benefitted from the 2009 Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act. Individuals who have credit card debt are less likely to have to deal with unexpected fees or interest rate increases that seem to come out of nowhere. However, while many tout the success of the act, a number of legislators and consumer protection groups feel that there are still numerous issues that have not been handled.

According to a spokeswoman for Consumers Union, the issue does not appear to be that the bill is bad so much as that new problems crop up as others are solved. For example, deferred interest payment cards have contracts that are very complicated. Many people take advantage of these cards because they offer the ability to pay for appliances and other large purchases without having to pay interest, as long as the payments are made by a certain point in time. The trouble is that these contracts are often not clear as to the deadline for paying off the card. If people do not pay in time, they can end up owing 100 percent of the interest they were trying to avoid.

Due to reports that the amount of available credit has decreased due to the CARD act, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been working on a study that will be released later this year. The study should provide information on how creditors’ practices are impacting consumers, as well as if consumer access to credit has been reduced.

Individuals who are unable to get out from under enormous credit card debt have the option of filing for bankruptcy. A lawyer could help someone understand what is involved in the filing process and let them know what to expect throughout.

Source: Fox Business, “Credit CARD act: the next generation“, Fred O Williams, June 18, 2013

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