Voice Your Opinion


The Federal Reserve wants to know what you as a consumer, think about the fees that lenders charge as penalties for late payments and other issues.

The final phase of the CARD act, the part that deals with such things as late payment penalties will take effect this summer.

Among the specific rules of the final phase is a prohibition of excessive penalties. For example, the imposed penalty cannot exceed the dollar amount of the infraction. If you are over your credit limit by $5.00 they can?t charge you a $35.00 penalty. In fact they can?t charge you more than $5.00.

Another rule taking effect in the final phase this summer is that companies would no longer be allowed to impose an inactivity fee on customers who fail to use their credit card for new purchases. Lately, inactivity fees have become quite common and if the practice will have to be discontinued starting this summer you can see why.

Other rules include a halt to the issuers being able to charge multiple fees based on the same infraction. For example if you are late paying your bill the company can only issue a penalty one time for the one incident.

Credit card issuers will also have to inform you of the specific reasons for increasing your interest rates. No more arbitrary interest hikes. They have to give you a reason.

Read about the proposed changes at the Federal register notice at http://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents. Look for the link to the notice in a news release under the category of Banking and Consumer Regulatory Policy.

If you wish to comment on the proposals, you may send an email with your concerns to regs.comments@federalreserve.gov or you can comment via fax at 202-452-3819. You must include ?Docket No. R-1384? in the subject line so that your comments will reach the right place and all comments must be received on or before April 14, 2010.