Lawmakers want to reform credit card policies - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Lawmakers want to reform credit card policies

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January 6, 2007

Albany - - They can be a big help when you're out of cash or they can turn into a pitfall. Credit cards, with their late fees and over the limit fees, often drag people further into debt. 

You may see Anne Holland shopping in the mall, but you won't find her using a credit card.

"Personally, I'd rather not have one."

She's been there, done that.

"The interest on them is high and sometimes you're tempted to spend more than you have or your budget will allow."

Still many people swipe away and at the end of the month their statement shows it.

With Democrats running the U.S. Congress, some want to pass legislation to ease the pain of credit card debt. The Chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking and Democrat Senator, Christopher Dodd says credit cards can help people gain economic progress, but also says they can "trap consumers in a hole of debt from which they may never escape." He's expected to push reform.

He's joined by another Democrat, Senator Carl Levin of Michigan who wants to break down the fine print you see on credit card statements to a 4th grade level, making it easier to understand.

Levin also wants to lower card fees and make sure creditors don't raise your interest rate due to late payments.

Fallon Shiloh says it may have a negative effect, causing spenders to shop even more.

"Put it like this. A grace period would be better because not all credit cards have a grace period."

But, Holland buys the idea. She says it will give shoppers a break and maybe even help the credit card companies get more applicants.

"They may be more interested in getting a credit card."

Reporter: "Would it make you go get one again?"

"Well it just might," Holland laughs.

The average late payment and over the limit fees have gone up over the past decade from $13 to over $30.

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