Few areas of our lives have become as expensive as fees associated with maintaining a credit card.
In February, a federal law designed to ease the costly burden of credit cards will take effect.
The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure, or CARD Act of 2009, will curb some of the abuses credit card companies have used to separate consumers from their money.
The American consumer wins four ways with the new law:
First, your rate for existing balances will no longer be raised just because you're a few days late with your payment.
Second, the credit card can't jack up your interest rate if you don't make your minimum monthly payment within 60 days of the payment due date.
Third, money you pay over the minimum payment will now be used to pay down balances with the highest interest rate.
And fourth, your payment date will always fall on the same date of each month, and it will be at least 25 days from the closing date printed on your statement.
Credit card companies have been making things tough on people who carry balances on their credit cards, and have been making it very hard to get out of debt. We all know how hard it is to pay off a credit card, and many people who have them carry balances on more than one card.
The CARD Act of 2009 is one of the good things to come out of Washington, and we applaud this step to help Americans dig themselves out of debt. Now, if only the government would do something to get itself out of debt…