SAN DIEGO (2/23/10)--New rules for credit cards went into effect Monday, and consumers will need to monitor changes that their card issuers may implement, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Chief Economist Bill Hampel told a San Diego newspaper. "The new rules are leading to changed behavior by card companies, and consumers would be very well advised to pay particular attention to terms and conditions, fees and rates on their cards to make sure they have the best deal," Hampel said in The Daily Transcript (via San Diego Source Feb.20). The new rules refer to certain provisions of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009 that became effective Monday. They limit interest rate hikes, restrict penalties and provide protections to help consumers pay their bills on time, said the newspaper. The article also referred to a recent study by CUNA and the Consumer Federation of America, which found that 85% of consumers are aware that the new regulation was going into effect Monday but they lacked specific knowledge of how the new law might impact their pocketbooks. The study found 36% of consumers believe that the new law caps late fees at $35, and 31% believe the cap is at 20%. The law does neither. While most organizations say the CARD Act is a step in the right direction, the newspaper reported, they also believe that consumers must be proactive in managing their debt and stay vigilant in monitoring their accounts for abuse.