Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Credit Card Protections for Consumers
WASHINGTON D.C. – Consumers Union today applauded the Treasury Department’s proposals to protect consumers from abusive credit card lending practices. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner briefed consumer organizations on the Obama Administration’s recommendations for credit card reform as the House prepares to vote on a reform bill on Thursday.
“After banks have gotten billions from taxpayers, it’s about time that American families get relief from abusive credit card interest rate hikes and penalties that trap them in debt and make it difficult to make ends meet,” said Pam Banks, Policy Counsel for Consumers Union. “This administration deserves credit for working to make sure consumers get the protections they deserve. We urge Congress to approve strong credit card safeguards to ensure Americans get a fairer deal.”
Treasury Secretary Geithner laid out key elements of reform that would build upon the pending measures in the House and Senate:
· Require banks to apply payments first to balances with the highest interest rate.
· Require any low-interest teaser rate to be offered for at least six months.
· Require standardized bill due dates so they are the same every month.
· Ensure agency review of the credit card market.
“Congress is set to put a stop to many unfair practices that trap people in a never-ending cycle of debt,” Banks said. “The Treasury Secretary’s proposal kicks it up a notch and helps strengthen the protections being considered by Congress.”
Pam Banks: 202-462-6262
Gail Hillebrand: 415-431-6747, ext 136