With a stroke of his pen, President Barack Obama signed a bill and put to rest months of tense, often bitter debate about finance reform. The Dodd-Frank financial reform bill tackles nearly every major issue in the world of finance, from consumers struggling to get out of debt to investment banks trading derivatives and credit-default swaps.
While all the changes will have some impact on the day-to-day life of consumers, lenders and debtors, the biggest immediate shifts will come from a few key points.
The White House actually published a simple list, calling it the "online attention-deficit version" of the financial reform bill.
For consumers trying to get out of debt, free annual credit scores for any applicant denied a loan or other service will be a huge benefit. This is different from credit reports, which consumers already had a right to – now, if you’re turned down for a mortgage or a car loan, you can ask to see the exact FICO score used to deny your application.
A new Consumer Protection Agency will help set clear rules for banks, payday lenders and credit cards. For consumers trying to stay or get out of debt by not using their credit cards, there will be no more "swipe fees" on debit cards that go beyond the cost of the transaction.