For consumers looking for basic information about the CARD Act, the Federal Reserve just published What You Need to Know: New Credit Card Rules. What credit card companies must tell you:
- when they plan to increase your rate and fees
- how long it will take you to pay off your balance.
The circular also covers all the new rules on fees, rates and limits:
- no rate increases for new cards in the first year
- rate increases only apply to new charges
- restrictions on over-the-limit transactions
- caps on high fee cards
- protections for underage consumers (under 21)
Finally, the circular contains some new rules on billing and payments:
- standardized payment dates and times (i.e. payments due on the same day each month)
- payments applied to highest risk first
- no two-cycle billing.
All and all, the circular is easy to read and even contains handy definitions and links to other information. Hopefully, consumers will be able to find this easily on the Internet (and will read it). Three cheers to the Fed for trying to get the word out.