While I’m never really one for government regulation (yes, I’m a Reagan conservative), I have to praise the President for his recent legislation forcing more transparency from the credit card companies.
I want to be clear about this: Credit card companies provide a valuable service; we don’t begrudge them turning a profit. We just want to make sure that they do so while upholding basic standards of fairness, transparency, and accountability. Just as we demand credit card users to act responsibly, we demand that credit card companies act responsibly, too. And that’s not too much to ask.
And that’s why, because of this new law, statements will be required to tell credit card holders how long it will take to pay off a balance and what it will cost in interest if they only make the minimum monthly payments. We also put a stop to retroactive rate hikes that appear on a bill suddenly with no rhyme or reason.
Every card company will have to post its credit card agreements online, and we’ll monitor those agreements to see if new protections are needed. Consumers will have more time to understand their statements as well: Companies will have to mail them 21 days before payment is due, not 14. And this law ends the practice of shifting payment dates.
Lastly, among many other provisions, there will be no more sudden charges — changes to terms and conditions. We require at least 45 days notice if the credit card company is going to change terms and conditions.”
I would disagree with some of what President Obama said. For starters, I think his ongoing domestic policy proves that he doesn’t “…demand credit card users to act responsibly,” and I am afraid to praise too liberally (pun intended) this new policy, as I am sure that there are some provisions that are not necessarily for the benefit of consumers.
Further, if you’re going to force some regulation, I would have liked to see a strengthening/tightening of the bankruptcy rules again. Obviously, the most recent changes didn’t help as bankruptcies were on the rise even before we got into this time of “economic challenge.”
And I’m still waiting to see someone in Washington or the media start looking at our economic futures positively – there is a future, things will get better, but only if we stop wallowing and start telling people they can have hope – REAL hope.
Well, at least he’s not using the regulation as leverage to take over Mastercard, Visa & American Express… At least not YET.