The following timeline and details will be updated as the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights, now merged with and known as the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act, progresses through Congress and as the bill makes its way to the President to be signed into law. Visit this article often for the latest information and to read the current versions of the bills as they are amended, voted upon, and revised.
Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Reverse Timeline
August 22, 2010: The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009 is fully in effect for existing and new credit card accounts.
February 22, 2010: Some provisions of the Credit CARD Act go into effect today, particularly rules for new credit card accounts.
May 22, 2009: President Obama signs the Credit Card Act of 2009 (which has been merged with the Cardholders’ Bill of Rights), H.R.627, and the new regulations will begin to take effect starting in February 2010.
May 20, 2009: The House of Representatives agrees to the Senate’s version of H.R.627 and sends the bill to the President to sign.
May 19, 2009: The Senate passes H.R.627 with a vote of 90 to 5.
May 12, 2009: The bipartisan Senate Banking Committee has agreed on the Credit CARD Act of 2009 (S.414).
May 11, 2009: The Senate proposed an amendment to the Credit CARD Act (H.R.627) as passed by the House of Representatives.
April 30, 2009: The House passes H.R.627 with a bipartisan vote of 357 to 70.
February 11, 2009: S.414 is introduced in the Senate
January 22, 2009: H.R.627 is introduced in the House.
January 14, 2009: The Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights (S.235) is introduced in the Senate.
Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Details
On April 30, 2009, the House of Representatives passed a bill commonly called the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act of 2009. This bill goes a long way to end some deceprive practices used by credit card companies to lure and trap consumers into expensive debt. While many of the problems resulting from these practices can be avoided by using credit wisely or not at all and adjusting your expectations to assume that the companies only care about their bottom line, not their customers, not all the blame can be placed on the consumer.
Thus, the government is stepping in with this effort to protect credit card users from practices such as abrupt rate increases, retroactive rate increases, and double-cycle billing, a situation in which customers are charged interest even after the last monthly bill to include charges for spending is fully paid off.
Here are some interesting points included in the House version of the bill.
- Credit card issuers will be required to maintain low introductory rates for at least six months.
- Issuers must warn consumers if they are spending close to their credit limit, allowing them to avoid a penalty.
- Issuers cannot charge customers a fee for paying their bill over the phone or online.
The changes to credit card regulations will begin taking effect in February 2010. When President Obama signed the bill into a law on May 22, 2009, he reminded the public about the importance of personal responsibility:
So we’re not going to give people a free pass; we expect consumers to live within their means and pay what they owe. But we also expect financial institutions to act with the same sense of responsibility that the American people aspire to in their own lives.
A similar bill passed the house last year but did not get much further.
The following are older versions of related bills:
Read the Senate’s Credit CARD Act of 2009, S.414 (February 11, 2009)
Read the Senate’s Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights, S.235 (January 14, 2009)
U.S. House acts to protect credit card users, Reuters, April 30, 2009
Updated March 31, 2011 and originally published April 30, 2009.