Obama Administration rep talks about the new credit card rules


Well, the CARD Act is finally here, and CreditCards.com hosted a video town hall meeting today with a White House Administration representative to talk about the new credit card rules and answer questions about how the legislation will affect consumers.

Most of the town hall was devoted to Q&A. People sent in their questions via the site or Twitter, and the government rep, White House economic adviser Austan Goolsbee, did his best to answer them. He called the passage of the new credit card rules a good day for the American consumer, and said that the new rules would change the balance of power between consumers and the credit card companies.

In perusing the questions, one thing that became crystal clear is that Americans are confused, frustrated and angry with their credit card companies for everything from changing the rules to raising their rates to explaining the terms of their cards in complicated legalese. "Some companies have tried to turn sneaky fees into a business model," Goolsbee said. He told people listening to the town hall meeting that the new credit card rules would put a stop to that.

Some people voiced skepticism, though, that the new rules would be enforced or expressed worries that the card companies would just exploit loopholes in the system to continue taking advantage of customers. To that, Goolsbee replied that the government would be engaging in a "new style of enforcement," adding, "[We're] definitely keeping a watchful eye on maintaining the balance of power" between card companies and their customers. This concern about enforcement is why consumer advocacy group US-PIRG recently spoke out (and spoke to WalletPop!) about the pressing need for a Consumer Finance Protection Agency to accompany the new credit card rules.