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Credit CARD Act of 2009 – what it means to you – Part 4 of 7 – Finally! Some limits on penalty fees.

[Categories: Washington Bankruptcy Attorney]

There are now (finally!) some limits on penalty fees – such as pesky and expensive late payment and over-the-limit fees.

(1) Penalty fees must be "reasonable and proportional" – and the CARD Act requires the Federal Reserve Board to issue rules by August 2010 in order to define and effectuate this mandate.

(2) Over-the-limit opt-in. This is important! Now, no over-the-limit fees may be charged unless the consumer has agreed that the lender may approve transactions that will exceed the credit limit.

(3) Limitations on number of over-the-limit fees. Lenders may charge only one over the limit fee per billing cycle (e.g. usually just one per month). In addition, lenders may only charge the fee in the next two billing cycles unless the consumer uses the card again, or goes below the limit and then exceeds it again. This is a big improvement – you can’t be penalized again and again, billing cycle after billing cycle if your balance stays in excess of the limit.

Special thanks to the National Consumer Law Center’s publication "Guide to Surviving Debt" 2010 edition, page 78, available at www.consumerlaw.org for about a mere $20.00.

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