Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act (CARD)

Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act (CARD)

The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 or Credit CARD Act of 2009 was passed by the United States Congress and signed by President Barack Obama on May 22, 2009. It is comprehensive credit card reform legislation that aims "...to establish fair and transparent practices relating to the extension of credit under an open end consumer credit plan, and for other purposes."

Key features include:
•    Protections against arbitrary interest rate increases
•    Elimination of penalties on cardholders who pay on time
•    Clarification of due dates
•    Protections from misleading terms
•    Cardholders have right to set limits on their credit
•    Card companies must fairly credit and allocate payments
•    Prevents card companies from imposing excessive fees on cardholders
•    Better Congressional oversight of the credit card industry
•    Limits credit cards to teens

Cry Wolf Quotes

“As an industry leader, Chase does not engage in several practices -- universal default, two-cycle billing and increasing a rate based on a change in a credit score -- addressed by the bill, but we believe the legislation as passed today has the potential of increasing overall costs to consumers, reducing access to credit, and reducing or eliminating low-rate options for consumers.”

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Stephanie Jacobson, first vice president of public affairs for Chase Card Services. CreditCards.com.

If you compare what the card industry looked like 20 years ago to how it looks today, you’ll be astonished at how much better a deal consumers are lately getting. And government regulation isn’t what drove the improvement; free-market innovation and competition, did. Twenty years ago, all consumers paid the same interest rate—and it wasn’t low (19.8%).

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Thomas Brown, financial columnist, Bankstocks.com.

This bill fundamentally changes the entire business model of credit cards by restricting the ability to price credit for risk. It is a fundamental rule of lending that an increase in risk means that less credit will be available and that the credit that is available will often have a higher interest rate.

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Edward L. Yingling, the chief executive of the American Bankers Association, Washington Post.

The bill would, for instance, prohibit card companies from changing the rates they charge ‘at any time, for any reason.’ Translation: instead of a borrower’s interest rate varying up and down, it will just stay up. Or fees will rise, to offset issuers’ loss of pricing flexibility.

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Thomas Brown, Bankstocks.com.

Evidence

Backgrounders & Briefs

A Timeline of the CARD Act

An interactive timeline of credit card reform.