Blog: Minimizing Financial Clutter
Get Organized for the New Credit Card Law
Perhaps you won't go out celebrating, but this Monday will be a happy occasion for consumers who have credit cards. President Obama signed the Credit Card Act of 2009 into law last year, and most of the provisions become effective on February 22, 2010.
Some of the welcome changes, organizationally-speaking, are:
· Standardized due dates for payments. Your credit card payment will always be due on the same day of the month. Now it will be much easier for you to establish a regular bill-paying schedule.
· Required notification 45 days prior to changes in the terms of your credit card agreement. If your interest rate is going up, or fees are going to be changed, your credit card companies must let you know 45 days in advance of the changes. This will give you time to make intelligent choices about how you will pay for future purchases.
· More organized statements! Your credit card statements must now contain a box showing you how much you have paid in interest and credit card fees during the current year.
For an easy-to-understand summary of the changes that affect you, go to http://www.federalreserve.gov/consumerinfo/wyntk_creditcardrules.htm.
But just because we credit card users will be the beneficiaries of these favorable new laws doesn't relieve us of our responsibility to read and understand the paperwork our credit card companies send to us. Consider these facts:
· The new law doesn't cap credit card interest rates or fees, nor does it protect you from credit card companies charging fees for exceeding your credit limit.
· Banks are the big losers because of this new law. They will surely come up with creative new fees that weren't part of your original credit card agreement.
Now more than ever, you need to make sure you open and read your mail on a daily basis. When you receive a notice of changes to your credit card terms (it usually comes with your bill), READ IT, DATE IT, and SAVE IT in a file with your other credit card documents.
The bad news is that the credit card companies can still charge you and arm and a leg in interest rates and fees. The good news is that you now have a bit more time to do something about it - IF you're organized, that is.
posted on: 2/21/2010 11:30:00 AM by Katherine Trezise
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by Katherine Trezise
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Katherine Trezise is president of Absolutely Organized, based in Baltimore, MD. She is president-elect of the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization. Katherine holds a masters degree in business administration, is a Certified Professional Organizer® and a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®. Absolutely Organized specializes in helping people organize their homes, paperwork and financial records to make room in their lives for the things, people and activities that are most important to them.