05.19.09

Comment On Senate Passage Of The Credit Card Reform Bill

[The Senate today (Tuesday) passed the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act, by a vote of 90 to 5, with Senator Leahy and Senator Sanders voting for the bill.  The reforms – long supported by Leahy, who cosponsored an earlier version of the bill -- would prohibit interest charges on credit card debt that is paid on time; requires a 45-day notice of any fee or interest rate changes; prohibits interest charges on credit card transaction fees such as late fees; prohibits overlimit fees unless a consumer opts-into the program; requires enhanced disclosure to consumers regarding the consequences of making only minimum payments; protects younger consumers from alluring and usurious credit card offers; and requires promotional rates to last at least six months.]

“Credit card companies have maxed out their credit with the American people.  Their contracts have become unnecessarily complicated, deceptively worded, and unfairly stacked against hard-working Vermonters.

“These reforms have been blocked before, but I’m pleased that the new Congress has made this bill the priority that consumers deserve it to be.  This bill puts fairness and common sense back into the credit card system.  By changing several unfair billing, marketing and disclosure practices, these reforms are designed to protect Vermont consumers from excessive penalties, ever-changing interest rates, and complex contracts.”

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