Sorry!! The article you are trying to read is not available now.
Thank you very much;
you're only a step away from
downloading your reports.

Can My Credit Card Company Do That?


Answers to all questions surrounding the looming Credit Card Act.


Credit card holders are often shocked to find sudden changes in fees, spending limits, and interest rates.

Read the fine print because banks are required by law to disclose all changes in a credit card's terms and conditions, and many banks are rushing to make changes before the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 takes effect in February.

"The terms and conditions of your credit card agreement are spelled out in the disclosure statement," says Bill Hardekopf, chief executive officer of in Birmingham, Alabama. "It's not easy to read, and after deciphering the language, you have to ask, 'What does it mean for me?' Many people don't get this far because they don't take the time to read the disclosure statement."

Plowing through the opaque legal language in the disclosure statement is a chore, but everything is spelled out in an enclosure sent with your monthly bill or in a letter that's mailed separately.

Paying your bill in full by the deadline each month will free you from the bite of higher interest rates, getting caught by shorter collection cycles, and getting slapped with late fees.

Making timely payments is easier if you develop a household budget that works. Learn the difference between smart and dumb debt and use your credit card wisely.

Plus, be sure to review your credit report as part of an on-going effort to build and maintain a strong credit rating and to guard against identity theft.

If you're unfamiliar with the information, take a minute to learn how to read a credit report.

Federal law requires the credit bureaus to provide consumers with one free copy of their report each year. To download and print a free copy of your report from Equifax (EFX), TransUnion or Experian, click here for the official website.

"About 80% of credit cards don't have an annual fee," Hardekopf says. "If you're paying a fee, you should shop around. There may not be as much wiggle room as there was in the past, but the industry is competitive and it pays to shop around, even with interest rates and fees up and rewards down."

Some cardholders are shocked by changes in the terms and yelp, "Can my bank do that?" The short answer: In most cases, yes. Hardekopf tells you what changes issuers can make now in your credit card agreement:

< Previous
  • 1
Next >
No positions in stocks mentioned.
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

Copyright 2011 Minyanville Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Videos