Starting today there are some big changes when it comes to your credit cards.
The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, or CARD, is fully implemented today.
Velvet Steil of Apprisen Financial Advocates says the changes could help consumers.
"There is no increase on existing balances unless a client is 60 days late," said Steil. "There is a 45-day notice that creditors would have to give if there were to be a rate increase."
Creditors will now also list a phone number to a non-profit organization which can help credit card users get out of debt and other helpful information.
"They have to provide an example of how long it will take for a client to pay off a debt if the minimum payment is made," she said. "So now there is a pay-out forecast projection. A client can really analyze and see if they are at high risk and need to seek other services.
Credit card companies will now also be required to provide an example of how long it will take to pay off a balance if the minimum payment is met every month, said Steil.
Credit card companies have responded to the changes with a few additional fees of their own.
"There are some other new fees that may be put into effect, such as an annual fee increase or a new inactivity increase," she said. "Those are things clients might face. Also minimum finance charges that maybe increase or a minimum transfer fees that exist."
Under the new law, those under 21 years of age will not be able to apply unless they have a co-signer show a proof of income.
So you don’t miss anything important, Steil suggests reading all mail from your credit card companies and looking at each statement closely, especially the fine print.
According to Style, the changes are a result of credit card users complaining about issues with their cards.
The act is fully in effect starting February 22, 2010.