WASHINGTON (12/26/2007)--The Credit Union National Association is tracking two bills floating on Capitol Hill that would prohibit several ways credit card companies charge fees and raise rates. House Financial Institutions Subcommittee Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) plans to introduce early in 2008 a bill that would protect consumers from double-cycle billing and any rate or fee adjustments not covered in the contract, reports the Dec. 21 American Banker
newspaper. Provisions of the yet-to-be-introduced House bill also would ban universal default on outstanding debt. In May, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), with co-sponsor Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), introduced the Stop Unfair Practices in Credit Cards Act (S. 1395), which would, in part:
* Prohibit interest on debt paid on time; * Prohibit interest charges on any portion of a credit card debt which the card holder paid on time during a grace period; * Prohibit added interest charges on credit card debt which the card holder paid on time and in full; * Limit on penalty interest; * Allow interest rate increases only to future debt; and * Prohibit the charging of interest on credit card transaction fees, such as late fees and over-the-limit fees.
Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Legislative Affairs Vice President Ryan Donovan, who is reviewing the legislation, said the credit card issue will be a high priority for both the House and Senate committees in the first three or four months of next year.