Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Credit Card Bill Passed the Senate

Senate votes to limit credit card rate changes (AP via Yahoo Finance):

"The Senate voted on Tuesday to prohibit credit card companies from arbitrarily raising a person's interest rate and charging many of the exorbitant fees that have become customary -- and crippling -- to cash-strapped consumers.

"The overwhelming bipartisan vote of 90-5 was lawmakers' way of telling Americans that they haven't been forgotten ..."

We haven't been forgotten. That's comforting to know, I suppose.

"If enacted into law as expected, the credit card industry would have nine months to change the way it does business: Lenders would have to post their credit card agreements on the Internet and let customers pay their bills online or by phone for free. They'd also have to give consumers a chance to spare themselves from over-the-limit fees and provide 45 days notice and an explanation before interest rates are increased."

?? What kind of credit cards are people using?? I can see the card agreements on the net, I pay all my card bills online, for free, for several years now.

But take a look at the post below, about San Francisco wanting to add cigarette butt tax to discourage people from bad behavior - smoking. Isn't irresponsible use of credit card a very, very bad behavior? Don't they need to punish that behavior by stiff fees and higher interests?

Oh never mind. I correct myself. If the private industry does that, it is predatory and profitting from card holders' economic plight.

Coupled with the news that the government is going to put more restriction on TARP repayment, the bank stocks are not doing too well today. Not too bad, but struggling to remain unchanged for the day. As of 11:28 am PST, among credit card issuers, only Citigroup is up:

  • Citigroup (C) up 18 cents (4.9%)
  • JP Morgan Chase (JPM) down 61 cents (1.64%)
  • Bank of America (BAC) down 5 cents (0.43%)
  • Wells Fargo (WFC) down 94 cents (3.45%)
  • Capital One (COF) down 91 cents (3.5%)
  • Discover Card (DFS) down 31 cents (3.36%)
  • American Express (AXP) down 80 cents (3%)
And card transaction processors:
  • Mastercard (MA) down $3.88 (2.2%)
  • Visa (V) down $1.40 (2.1%)


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