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February 14, 2008

Credit Obama For This One

With the mortgage crisis vacuuming up the attention reserved for economic issues, it’s something of a relief to hear Obama addressing the credit issue that, I has an even greater impact on the lives of poor and middle-class Americans—credit card lending practices. (Of course, as far as the msm is concerned, there really is no crisis with credit cards since the issuing banks can apparently squeeze as much as they need to out of consumers to maintain healthy profits; this is to say that, a credit “crisis” is defined as lenders getting in trouble, not just borrowers).

Obama’s credit card bill of rights:

 Ban Unilateral Changes: Currently, credit card companies can unilaterally change the terms of a credit card agreement at any time for any reason with only a 15-day notice to the consumer. Barack Obama will ban these unilateral changes in credit card agreements unless companies have obtained written consent from consumers and have followed the rules and terms of the agreement.  Apply Interest Rate Increases Only to Future Debt: Credit card companies often apply increased interest rates to both new debt incurred by the cardholder, as well as previously incurred debt. Barack Obama will require increased interest rates to apply only to future credit card debt, and not to debt incurred prior to the increase.

 Prohibit Interest on Fees: Credit card companies often charge interest on transaction fees, such as late fees or paying a bill by telephone. Barack Obama will prohibit credit card issuers from charging interest on transaction fees.

 Prohibit “Universal Defaults”: “Universal defaults” are a practice in which a credit card company raises an individual’s interest rate based on failure to pay a different creditor on time. Barack Obama will prohibit this practice.

 Require Prompt and Fair Crediting of Cardholder Payments: Barack Obama will require credit card issuers to apply payments first to the credit card balance with the highest rate of interest and to minimize finance charges.

The entire white paper can be found here.

Posted by stevemack at February 14, 2008 05:49 PM


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