Credit card bill heads to Obama's desk

Following the Senate's lead, the House passed a bill this afternoon designed to help credit card customers by limiting fees and penalties. President Barack Obama could sign it into law as soon as this week.

The bill would prevent card issuers from penalizing borrowers for late payments to other lenders, force issuers to apply payments to the highest-interest balances first and require them to wait to raise rates after a late payment, among other provisions.

Both the House and the Senate overwhelmingly approved the measure, which drew broad support from members of both parties. The Senate passed it yesterday on a 90-5 vote, while the House passed it by a 361-64 margin.

Consumer advocates cheered the bill's passage, according to Bloomberg News. "For too long, owning a credit card company has been a license to steal," said Ed Mierzwinski, consumer program director at U.S. PIRG, the news service reported.

Meanwhile, banking industry representatives said the bill would limit credit if it becomes law.
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