Visa MasterCard Discovery

New laws can’t curtail credit cards issuers from charging extra on cards

[Monday, December 6th, 2010]

The CARD Act and its new regulations haven’t affected the card companies as they continue to churn out profits as they find new and innovative ways to fleece customers with extra charges by using various terminologies that the common man cannot understand. Card companies have worked out ways to charge their clients extra in order to make up for the lost revenue due to the provisions in the new act.

If there is a cap on interest rates brought forward by the new regulations, then there is a default rate for someone who does not have a good rating. If there is a cap on some of the fees, then major banks such as Bank of America, Citigroup, Discover, and J Morgan Chase are some of the banks that have raised the minimum payments on some accounts and thereby increase late fees. When there is a sudden jump in minimum payments there would certainly be a delay in payments by the customers and this would be a good opportunity to increase the late fees.

There are issuers who are charging a hefty sum for credit protection insurance programs and these charges are levied even without obtaining the permission from the clients. Prepaid cards are being pushed aggressively because some of them carry very high fees.

Card companies are giving frivolous excuses and charging the consumers all the extra charges. Companies blame the centralized systems for being unable to offer better rates to their loyal clients. When default rates are hiked the banks simply owe it to the ‘new financial environment’ which means they are raking in profits as they could do so now.

The annual fee charged on these cards has shot up whereas the billing cycles have shortened. There are new charges levied on lower credit limits. There has been an increase in balance transfer fees, foreign exchange fee, as well as cash advance. Now there is an aggressive marketing of professional cards as they do not come under the purview of the CARD Act.

Debit card profits were also affected as there was a limit on interchange fees (fee that banks charge merchants when the card is swiped). So now J.P. Morgan Chase has decided to move away from debit cards.

So advisors on consumer protection state that one has to be on guard right from the beginning. One has to ensure that services like payment protection exist before signing up for the card. Monthly statements need to be monitored carefully and report any unusual change.

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