Finally a few more protections from the people who issued credit cards have gone into place. As of last Tuesday, laws were enacted that state if you make a late payment credit card companies can only hit you up for $25 late fee if it happens only once, and then no more than $35 if you happen to do it often within certain time limits. They also can’t hit you with a fee higher than the amount of any financial violations. In other words, if you happen to go over your limit by $18 accidentally, they can’t hit you with a 50 or $75 fee.

Something that many banks and said they were going to start doing was charging people who didn’t use their credit cards. The new regulations say that they can’t do that; that’s a good thing. It’s one of things I griped about what I talk about this concept of credit scores and outstanding credit. If you don’t have to spend credit you have available to you, you shouldn’t be penalized because you’re not buying things you don’t need. It was inherently unfair, I’m glad the federal government me that correction.

For once, the American Bankers Association is going along quietly with the new regulations as opposed to saying that it’s not fair to banks. Supposedly a representative was quoted as saying that the industry would work quickly and diligently in addressing these new regulations.

Here’s one more good thing. The new regulations state that banks cannot raise the interest rate on outstanding balances, with some banks had already put into place. At the same time, the new regulations are encouraging those banks that took advantage of the gap in time last year between when other credit card legislation was passed and then implemented to go back and rethink the interest rates that they raise during that time period. I’m not exactly sure how strong that encouragement is, but anything that works to the benefit of consumers is a good thing.

These rules will go into effect on August 22, which gives banks about 2 1/2 months to put everything into practice. Let’s hope they come down some of those interest rates as a sign of good faith.

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