The largest and most comprehensive overhaul of the credit card industry was signed into law by President Obama in the spring of 2009. To learn more about the overhaul download the Reforms to Protect American Credit Card Holders Factsheet. In just the last week, the remaining provisions of the Credit Card Act took effect. These measures further protect women consumers from deceptive and unfair practices, saving them from putting their hard-earned dollars toward unnecessary fees and excessive penalties.
The provisions that took effect August 22, 2010 include:
• A $25 limit on late payment charges for most responsible consumers;
• A prohibition on levying more in penalty fees than the cost of the original infraction;
• A ban on “inactivity” fees; and
• A restriction on multiple penalty fees if the violation was based on a single late payment.
A new independent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will ensure industry compliance with these rules. The Bureau was a key piece of Wall Street Reform which the President signed into law on July 21st. In addition to credit card companies, the Bureau will, for the first time, establish oversight of payday lenders, who disproportionately target women. It will supervise entities ranging from student lenders to mortgage lenders. And it will enforce fair lending laws and improve disclosures, making it easier for women and their families to identify and avoid high cost, high risk products that don’t meet their needs.
The protections afforded by Wall Street Reform, taken together with the new Credit Card Act rules, will both help to level the financial playing field for American women and ensure that our economy as a whole grows stronger. To learn more about what Wall Street Reform will do for women, checkout the Women and Wall Street Reform Factsheet.
Tina Tchen is Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and Executive Director of the Council on Women and Girls