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Credit Card Rules Change

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President Obama signed into law a measure last spring that would prevent credit card companies from raising interest rates on existing balances.

The banks received a nine month grace period, but then moved quickly to raise rates and tack on extra fees ahead of the bill's enactment.

"It is the single unfairest  economic transaction I can think of that doesn't include a pistol," proclaimed Rep. Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts).

As a result, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to speed up the new rules to begin next month, instead of February.

Ed Myska is among those looking for relief, shocked when he learned bailed-out Citibank is doubling his credit card rate to 30%.   

"It does anger me because here I am a citizen and I helped bail them out."

The law signed in May would prevent credit card companies from doing exactly what was done to Myska. 

Under the new law, for example, if a customer has a balance of $1000, and the company changes the rate, it would apply to new purchases only, and not old debt.  

A spokesman for the banks says moving up the start date is problematic.

"The new credit card law is massive changes to the credit card industry and it would be very difficult for the industry to be in compliance by December first," says industry spokesman Scott Talbott.
The Senate now takes up the measure to accelerate the move-up date.  That's projected to be a tougher fight.

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