Congress may accelerate start date for credit card act


As banks and credit card companies race to raise rates and fees on credit card holders, they are angering not only the public, but also the Congress. In fact some elected officials are so unhappy with the credit card companies that they may introduce a bill to accelerate the effective date of the bill from Feb. 22, 2010 to Dec. 1, 2009.

Unfortunately for most credit card users that won't help much. The damage is already done given the significant hikes in rates and fees we've already seen. If Congress truly wanted to maintain the status quo for credit card holders, it should have mandated an immediate freeze on interest rates and fees. Even by the time the bill had passed credit card interest rates and fees had jumped dramatically. They started to go up as soon as the Federal Reserve tightened rules.

The Federal Reserve gave banks 18 months to implement the changes. Congress shorted that by six months to Feb. 22, 1010. I don't know why anyone is surprised that the credit card companies, which pushed for even longer lead times, would rush to change the terms on credit card holders.