Tester: New credit card rules will save Montanans money, hold companies accountable

Senator helped write credit card reform rules that take effect today

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Montanans who own credit cards will save money and benefit from tough new rules on the credit card industry, which take effect today.

Senator Jon Tester, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, helped write the rules in the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act.  The Credit CARD Act overwhelmingly passed the Senate and was signed into law last year.

“For most Americans, credit card companies haven’t exactly been good business partners,” Tester said.  “These common sense rules will help put the credit card industry back on the side of hardworking Montanans who are tired of getting squeezed and pushed into debt.  I encourage folks who use plastic to learn about these new reforms.”

The Credit CARD Act will save American credit card holders billions of dollars by reining in fees and unfair interest rate hikes.

The new rules:

  • Ban unfair interest rate hikes.  Interest rate hikes on existing balances will be prohibited unless the cardholder is more than 60 days late in making a payment.
  • Give cardholders an extra week to pay their bills.  The Credit CARD Act requires credit card statements to be mailed three weeks before the bill is due.
  • Require more notice.  The bill requires companies to give cardholders 45 days notice of interest rate, fee and finance charge increases.
  • Stop 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.
  • Make statements clearer.  Billing statements will clearly display payment due dates and late payment penalties, and credit card agreements must be posted on the company’s websites.  Monthly statements will also warn cardholders about how long it will take them to pay off their balances if they only make the minimum payments.

More information about how the Credit CARD Act will benefit Montanans is available online at tester.senate.gov/card.