Credit CARD Act of 2009 – what it means to you – Part 1 of 7 – Protections re: rate increases

Eight protections (among a number of others) include the following. Here is the first protection:

– Protections against rate increases for future transactions. The Credit CARD Act prohibits credit card lenders from increasing the interest rate that applies to the balance you’ve already incurred on your credit card, a practice known as "retroactive rate increase". There are several exceptions to this rule, which are the following:

(a) Varaible rates – if it is a variable rate card, (e.g. prime plus 7.0%) then the rate can change on all purchases/cash advances when the index changes;

(b) Teaser rates – a lender may raise the rate after the expiration of a teaser rate, but only to the post-teaser rate previously disclosed. Also, teaser rates cannot last fewer than six months.

(c) Sixty-plus days late – a retroactive rate increase on existing balances is permissible as a penalty rate when you are more than sixty days late in making the required minimum payment. NOTE: You can get the old non-penalty rate back and reinstated if you make the next six months worth of minimum payments on time.

Special thanks to the National Consumer Law Center’s "Guide to Surviving Debt", 2010 edition, available at www.consumerlaw.org for a mere $20.00 or so. I highly recommend it.

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