In order to make back the money lost by the Credit Card Act of 2009, credit card companies are trying new tricks to raise money. At a time when consumers are trying everything possible to get out of debt, credit card companies are doing everything possible to keep them in debt. In order to protect yourself from these shady practices, you have to know your rights under the law.
Here are 3 new ways that credit card companies are trying to make money at your expense.
1. Increasing the fees on cash advances.
Card users have to be really strapped for cash to use a cash advance from their credit card. They are charged the highest interest rate allowed by the card company and an additional cash advance fee. These fees are imposed instantly and interest accrues immediately. The average fee rate was 2 to 3% over the past few years. Since the passage of the CARD Act, the median rate has risen to 4%. Even credit unions are not exempt from this tend. Credit union cardholders saw their fees go up to 2.5% from 2%.
2. Increasing the penalty rates.
The penalty rate is the default APR that kicks in whenever you have a negative credit behavior. Missed payments, late payments, going over your credit limit are all events that would move your interest rates into penalty territory. Penalty rate increases were not addressed by the new CARD Act so companies are increasing them. The average default APR on credit cards has actually gone up 1% Credit card companies used to cap out interest at 28.99%. According to CNN Money, credit card users have taken the default rate up to 29.99%.
3. Increasing the hidden language.
All of the important information in financial contracts is normally hidden in the small fine print. The CARD Act was supposed to end this practice and make card companies disclose all pertinent information in bold print. Payment due dates, interest rates, available credit, and default APR’s should all be readily available information. Well, this is not the case. Credit card companies are still hiding penalty information, fees, and APR information.