Credit card companies piling on fees, raising rates ahead of new federal rules

It appears that credit card issuers are insisting upon exercising their right to abuse their customers in the name of higher profits. A survey of recent activities by the top eight credit card issuers reveals that since the Federal Reserve announced rule changes designed to curb unfair credit card industry practices last December, the companies have implemented even more onerous practices, raised interest rates more aggressively and increased the number of fees that they can impose on their customers.

The Center For Responsible Lending (CRL) released its findings on Monday and according to the report, Citigroup (C), Bank of America (BAC), J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM), Capital One (COF), HSBC (HBC), Discover (DFS), American Express (AXP) and Well Fargo (WFC) have each increased interest rates on existing balances for many of their account holders on an "any time, any reason" basis within the last six months. This practice will be illegal under the new Fed rules which take affect in July 2010. The CRL estimates that at least 10 million card holders have been affected, and some have seen increases of 10 percentage points or more on their existing rate at a time when many consumers are having trouble staying afloat.