Press Release

Cuellar: Credit Card Bill Helps Pave the Way to Economic Recovery for Working Families

Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights Ends Abusive Credit Gimmicks and Promotes Credit Fairness and Responsibility

f t # e
Washington, April 30, 2009 | Thomas Seay (202-225-1640) | comments
Congressman Henry Cuellar today joined a broad, bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights on a 357-70 vote. The legislation provides Americans with the rights and information they need to make responsible decisions about their credit cards, and it bans the unfair credit gimmicks and arbitrary fees and rate increases that have hurt millions of families during the economic downturn.
share: f t
Congressman Henry Cuellar today joined a broad, bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights on a 357-70 vote. The legislation provides Americans with the rights and information they need to make responsible decisions about their credit cards, and it bans the unfair credit gimmicks and arbitrary fees and rate increases that have hurt millions of families during the economic downturn.

“Now more than ever, America’s long-term prosperity depends on building an economy that reflects our belief in fairness, responsibility, and hard work,” Congressman Cuellar said. “That means putting an end to arbitrary and abusive lending practices, and it means protecting the rights of Americans to make informed, responsible decisions about their use of credit.”

He added, “The bill recognizes that some credit card companies have always treated their customers fairly, even when this has put those companies at a competitive disadvantage. By strengthening consumer protections industry-wide, the bill levels the playing field and rewards the fair players who have done the right thing all along.”

Among other provisions, the bill would:

  • Protect cardholders against arbitrary interest rate increases by requiring 45 day notice of all interest rate increases and banning retroactive increases except when a cardholder is more than 30 days past due.
  • Prevents unfair penalties to cardholders who pay on time by ending “double cycle” billing, which charges interest on debt that consumers have already paid on time.
  • Protect cardholders from due-date gimmicks by requiring card companies to mail billing statements 21 calendar days before the due date and extending due dates to the next business day for mailed payments when the due date falls on a day when the card company does not accept or receive mail (such as Sundays and holidays).
  • Prevent companies from using misleading terms by establishing standard definitions of terms such as “fixed rate” and “prime rate.”
  • Empower cardholders to set their own hard, fixed credit limit that cannot be exceeded.
  • Prohibit card companies from imposing excessive fees on cardholders by limiting the number of over-the-limit fees that companies can charge for a single transaction.
  • Require card companies to fairly allocate payments among lower-rate and higher-rate balances by requiring payments made in excess of the minimum to be allocated proportionally among the balances or to the balance with the highest rate.

###

Congressman Henry Cuellar is a member of the U.S. House Homeland Security, Agriculture, and Government Oversight & Reform Committees in the 111th Congress. Accessibility to constituents, education, health care, economic development, and national security are his priorities. Congressman Cuellar is also a Senior Whip and member of the Blue Dog Coalition.

f t # e