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New credit card Act went into effect today; ramifications already seen

By Dian Vujovich

Geez. Every newspaper, radio and TV news show– and who knows how many Web site stories— are writing about the new credit card Act that went into effect today as of it were news. If you’ve been reading my blog, I’ve been writing about it for months.

That said, credit cards have become more of a screw to the average user since last May when the Act became a law. Today, and moving forward, the screws have gotten tighter and the fees for using cards higher.

Had the Act became law the day it was signed by the president, as was initially suggested, the horrible changes –like those of interest rate increases on cards, credit limits lowered, promises of certain interest rates erased, etc. — could never have happened. But, Washington and the banking/financial industry have powerful lobbyists. Lobbyists who only care about the firms and institutions they represent and their own livelihoods.

Add to that the fact that Congress seems to currently be full of pansies who don’t have the gumption to stand up for anything no matter what their constituents say, it’s no wonder that we’re all sitting in a financial mess.

A line from an Elton John song seems to say it all: “It’s a sad sad situation and it’s getting more and more absurd.” (The song, Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word. The song’s about love, but heck, when a lyric fits, sing it.)

If you’d like to learn more about credit cards and the banking/financial industry, I suggest you take the time to watch—in full— PBS’s Frontline program titled, The Card Game. You can find it at: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/view/.
First aired on November 24th, 2009, it will open your eyes. Watch it and learn.

Back to this wonderful new Ac, (official name, the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 or CARD), visit the government’s credit card site, http://www.federalreserve.gov/creditcard/, click-on “fees” and you’ll learn the following: “Federal law limits the total fees charged during the first year after you open an account to 25% of the initial credit limit..”

If I understand that correctly, when I open a new credit card account with a $5000 credit limit on it, the first year I can be charged up to $1000 (or 25 percent) for the privilege of using that card. Isn’t that a sweet deal. Not for me, of course, but for the credit card issuer.

I could go on and on but that wouldn’t be good for my blood pressure.

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