After the Credit CARD Act of 2009 was signed into law, we saw how credit card issuers started making life tougher for their customers. In short, banks were levying fees on their customers indiscriminately, affecting both the good and the bad.
This has been going on for months. Lawmakers have publicly condemned it, and made requests to the federal reserve, but all to no avail. This week, however, an amendment to expedite the Credit CARD Act (giving it an effective date of December 1st) has passed the House of Representatives in a better-than-average bipartisan manner (only 53% of Republicans opposed it), and I’m hopeful for all of our sakes that a similar measure quickly passes in the Senate.
I read through the words in both versions, and found a few differences, which might make it take longer to work through Congress:
In the House
The House version (full text) makes an exception for depository institutions (banks) with fewer than two million credit cards in circulation. It also comes with various clarifications to make sure that the new law doesn’t apply to banks and creditors who haven’t punished their customers (many of whom continued to pay on time and remain in good standing) in advance of the new law.
It also includes new features starting at Section 6 which state that:
- if you receive notice of a new fee, and you pay off your balance in full, or cancel your account, that won’t negatively impact your credit score
- there will be a nine-month moratorium on rate increases with a start date of the enactment of the Credit CARD Act of 2009
If these amendments pass, the moratorium would start December 1, 2009, instead of nine months after the law was passed, on about February 22, 2010.
In the Senate
The Senate version (full text) includes no additional clarifications or amendments, only a date change to December 1.
Flexo and I don’t agree on everything (if everybody did, life sure would be boring), but we agree that Congress should pass each idea into law based on its own merits, and not bundle them together into a jumbled mess of unrelated ideas. In this case, if you want to expedite a law, then document the new date and move on. Now’s probably not the time to be adding new regulations.
Updated November 8, 2009 and originally published November 6, 2009. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @flexo on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.