Tester: Credit card reform bill a ‘huge victory’ for hardworking Americans

Senate overwhelmingly passes bipartisan CARD Act, 90-5

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Senator Jon Tester today praised the U.S. Senate for passing a bill that will overhaul the nation’s credit card industry, putting “common sense and fairness” back on the side of all Americans who use credit cards.

Tester helped write the bipartisan Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act—commonly known as the CARD Act—for the past two years as a member of the Senate Banking Committee.

The Senate overwhelmingly passed the CARD Act today with a vote of 90 to 5.

“This is a huge victory for Montanans—and all Americans—who work hard and play by the rules,” Tester said.  “This bipartisan bill establishes a new set of standards at a time when honest folks are getting squeezed in this tough economy.”

Tester recently urged his colleagues to vote for the CARD Act during a speech on the Senate floor.  During his speech, he used examples of Montanans who wrote to him with stories about unfair credit card practices.

Tester said the measure that passed today will benefit all Americans who own credit cards.

The CARD Act makes several sweeping changes.  The bill, in part:

  • Bans unfair fees and penalties.  The bill outlaws interest on transaction fees such as late fees and over-limit fees, and prohibits companies from charging fees for customers who pay their credit card bills via phone, over the internet, or by mail. 
  • Gives cardholders an additional week to pay their bills.  The CARD Act requires credit card statements to be mailed three weeks before the bill is due rather than the current two weeks. 
  • Requires more notice.  The bill requires companies to give cardholders 45 days notice of interest rate, fee and finance charge increases. 
  • Stops credit card companies from exploiting young Americans.  The bill requires most credit card applicants under the age of 21 to get a signature from someone willing to take responsibility for the debt, and limiting credit card offers to customers between the ages of 18 and 21. 
  • Improves gift cards. The CARD act requires plastic gift cards to be valid for at least five years.

More information about what the CARD Act does is available online HERE.

The CARD Act is expected to go to President Obama to be signed into law as early as Friday.