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If knowledge is power, consumers are about to get a lot more powerful. Thanks to the Credit Card Accountability and Responsibility Act of 2009 (better known as the CARD Act), starting next month you’re going to have new rights, credit card companies will have fewer, and it’s all going to be spelled out in language that’s a lot easier to understand.
Here’s the story I did that shows off the new statements. Check it out, then meet me on other side for more.
To recap those statement changes:
- Your entire statement should be formatted so it’s easier to understand. In other words, fees and interest charges should be highlighted, not buried. And all information should be presented in a logical way.
- There should be a box that shows you how long it will take to pay off the bill if you only make minimum payments and how much interest you’ll pay in doing so. There might also be examples of how much you’ll save by paying more than the minimum. For an example of what it might look like, check out New Credit Card Rules from the Federal Reserve.
- There should be a toll free number you can call for no-cost credit-counseling assistance.
Banks aren’t required to comply with these new regulations until July 1, 2010, but many have said they’ll start sooner. You might also be receiving a Statement of Account Changes from your card companies that detail other alterations in your account, courtesy of the new law. If you get one, read it. Already trashed it without opening it first? Not to worry. I’ll be laying out the details in a future post.