You didn’t think it was going to be that easy, did you?
The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 took a wrecking ball to some of the more frustrating practices of the credit-card industry in an effort to help Americans trying to stay and get out of debt. Some estimates put the cost to the industry at $390 million per year of lost revenues from fees.
So the banks are fighting back, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Annual fees rose 18 percent, to a median level of $59, between July 2009 and March 2010. Cash-advance and balance-transfer fees rose 33 percent.
Banks are also attempting end-runs around some of the newly banned practices. Inactivity fees are out; it’s now time to say hello to annual fees which go away after a certain threshold.
The CARD Act stipulates a 21-day gap between the date the company mails a payment and the payment due date, but a lot of people are complaining that they’re not getting enough time.
Foreign-transaction fees are up over 50 percent, and balance transfers are now 33 percent more expensive.
Bad news for those trying to get out of debt: Minimum monthly finance charges are rising too, from an average of 50 cents to as much as $1.50.
For young people, low-credit-limit cards have been a boon, allowing college students to get a foot in the credit-card door. The CARD Act bans fees of over 25 percent of a customer’s credit line, so the banks are hitting those who use those cards with upfront processing fees, which can eat into the limit quickly.