Credit card issuers keep inventing new fees to replace the old ones

Martha C. White

The Federal Reserve seems to be in a never ending game of Whac-a-Mole with the banks that issue credit cards. In October the agency had to roll out clarifications to its regulations on credit card fees after it became clear that the banks had found a way to get around the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 and charge consumers with a slew of new fees.

Banks used to make billions of dollars a year in fees and other charges that were often levied in ways that consumers perceived as sneaky, unclear or outright deceptive. Recent legislation including the CARD Act, the Fed's Regulation Z and other rules have banned many of these practices. (That's why credit card issuers can no longer spring a surprise rate hike on you with no warning if you're current with your payments, for example.) But the problem is that those fees were a major cash cow for banks, and they're not about to give them up without a fight.

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