Today, Rep. Ben Ray Luján co-sponsored the Credit Cardholder’s Bill of Rights (H.R. 627). The comprehensive credit card reform legislation will protect New Mexican families by leveling the playing field between credit card companies and consumers and increasing protections against unfair and misleading credit card practices. The legislation went through mark-up today in the House Financial Services Committee.
“During these difficult economic times, families from across New Mexico are struggling to make ends meet and those struggles are being made more difficult by misleading and unfair credit card practices,” said Rep. Luján. “This legislation will take common sense and responsible steps to protect families from unfair credit practices. These fair steps will protect families from retroactive charges, excessive fees, arbitrary rate increases and misleading terms.”
The Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights helps New Mexican families by:
• Protecting cardholders against arbitrary interest rate increases
• Preventing cardholders who pay on time from being unfairly penalized
• Protecting cardholders from due date gimmicks
• Shielding cardholders from misleading terms
• Empowering cardholders to set limits on their credit
• Requiring card companies to fairly credit and allocate payments
• Prohibiting card companies from imposing excessive fees on cardholders
• Preventing card companies from giving subprime credit cards to people who can’t afford them
• Requiring Congress to provide better oversight of the credit card industry
• Containing NO rate caps, fee setting, or price controls
The Credit Cardholder’s Bill of Rights was introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). Last year, the Credit Cardholder’s Bill of Rights passed the House 312-112 but died in the Senate. According to Rep. Maloney’s office, the Credit Cardholder’s Bill of Rights would have banned many of the worst unfair, deceptive and anti-competitive practices of the credit card industry including so called “universal” default, double-cycle billing, and retroactive rate hikes. In December, the Federal Reserve released final regulations that would ban many of these practices, but the new rule does not take effect until July 2010. The CCBOR introduced in the current Congress would take effect 90 days after the President signs it.