Take the AARP Smart Driver course and you could save on auto insurance! Sign up today.
by Sid Kirchheimer, AARP Bulletin, April 16, 2010
Q. My credit card interest rate was unfairly raised before the Feb. 22 deadline for Credit CARD Act protections. What other “last licks” did issuers get in?
A. In a late-January telephone survey of 1,000 cardholders randomly selected by Credit.com, 43 percent reported that at least one change was made to an existing credit card account, and never to their benefit. That’s up from one in three in a similar survey in June 2009. The January survey found:
27 percent reported an increase in their interest rate.
19 percent reported increased fees.
15 percent had an increase in their required minimum payment.
13 percent had their credit limit lowered.
11 percent reported their account had been closed.
11 percent reported a rewards program had been scaled back.
I have received at least 300 letters in recent months from AARP members reporting similar credit card changes. Interest rate hikes (often double-digit) were the most common complaint, even from people who said they were never late or otherwise irresponsible with their payments.
February’s Credit CARD Act protections were just the first round. The final ones begin July 1. After then, if your interest rate is increased because you were 60 days late on a payment, the credit card issuer must revert to the original rate after you complete six months of on-time payments. Also starting in July, gift cards cannot expire for at least five years, and inactivity fees are banned.
Sid Kirchheimer writes about health and consumer issues.
Please leave your comment below.
You must be logged in to leave a comment.
Get tips and resources to protect yourself from fraud and see the latest scam alerts in your state.
Members save 15% on in-store purchases of frozen yogurt, treats and apparel.
Exclusive program for members from The Hartford.
AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.
You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits.
Your email address is now confirmed.
Manage your email preferences and tell us which topics interest you so that we can prioritize the information you receive.
Explore all that AARP has to offer.
In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails
related to AARP volunteering. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly
receive communications related to AARP volunteering. In the meantime, please feel free
to search for ways to make a difference in your community at