Important Credit Card Laws and How they Apply to Consumers

There are many laws out that that have changed how credit cards and the companies behind them have worked. Here are a few of the important ways these laws now apply to consumers.

Credit CARD Act of 2009

In May 22nd of 2009, the Credit CARD Act was signed into law. The intent of the law was to protect credit card users from exploitation like massive interest rate hikes that apply to the money a user already owed on the card and providing increasing the time to make bill payments.

Other changes to the law include a minimum 45 days notice of any fee or rate changes, the ability to opt out of new credit card agreements with increased interest rates, and that a interest rate can’t be raised on your account if you always pay off balances on time as per the original agreement.

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

The intent of this law is to restrict what credit card companies can do in pursuing the collection of debts owed. Under this law, a collection agency can call only once per day between 8 am and 9pm. In addition, they are not allowed to mention the debt owed to anyone other than a spouse without explicit permission, are obligated to be reasonably polite on the phone, are at risk if they saw they will sue but not follow through, and cannot lie about the reason for a debt collection call.

Fair Credit Reporting Act

This act requires that information reported to the credit bureaus who determine your credit rating is both fair and accurate. A credit card user has certain rights to the data including to challenge inaccuracies, to see a credit file if you are denied a line of credit, and that negatively impactful information must be removed from the account after a set number of years.

Fair Credit Billing Act

The fair credit billing act’s purpose is to protect a credit cardholder from having to pay for goods or services that were unauthorized or misrepresented. This includes orders that were never delivered upon, a purchase that you never agreed to or did not come as advertised, and mistaken charges onto your account including to be charged twice or to be charged for the wrong item.

Truth in Lending Act

The truth in lending act puts certain requirements on how a credit card lending institution presents the details of the agreement to consumers. For instance, the agreement must be written in simple terms so that the average person can understand them. In addition, promotions that are advertised must be available to the qualified applicants as they were advertised.