Credit card holders could get relief this year


In December, I wrote about the new credit card rules adopted by the Federal Reserve to stop excessive fees and unexpected interest rate hikes. The big disappointment with these new rues was that they didn't take affect until 2010. Congress isn't happy with that delay and bills are now under consideration to speed up the process of implementing these new credit card rules.

The Credit Cardholder's Bill of Rights was passed in 2008 in the House of Representatives, but was stalled by Republicans in the Senate. It's now been reintroduced in the new Congress by bill author Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) in the House of Representatives and by Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Mark Udall (D-CO) in the Senate. With a greater percentage of the Senate being Democratic, the bill has a much better chance of passage. If the bill passes, credit card companies would have only 90 days to comply.

"Eliminating some of the unfair practices and rate increases of credit cards would be a nice bailout for taxpayers, and could be better than a stimulus check for some families," says Bill Hardekopf, CEO of He expects President Obama to sign the bill because he recommended many of these same changes during his presidential campaign.