Most people in Eastern Tennessee have probably never heard of the CARD Act, even though it contains some of the broadest consumer protection provisions in the United States Code. Even a summary understanding of the Act's provisions can help Tennessee consumers avoid burdensome credit card debt. The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act was passed by Congress in 2009 in response to the Great Recession. The law clarifies certain portions of the Truth in Lending Act and adds a number of important protective measures.
The first section of the Act places limits on the rights of card issuers to change or manipulate interest rates on their cards. A card issuer must give customers 45 days advance notice of any change in interest rates that was not spelled out in the initial agreement. Any rate increase notice must also give the card holder the right to cancel their account. The Act also places additional limits on changes in payment dates and over-limit fees and prohibits charging special fees based on the method used to make payments on the card balance.
The Act imposes several compulsory disclosure obligations on the card issuers. The issuer must include on every statement disclosures about the consequences of making only a minimum payment and the monthly payment required to eliminate the debt in 36 months.
The major impact of the CARD act is to require card issuers to provide helpful information in both the original credit agreement and in monthly statements. Anyone with questions about their account can begin by studying these documents. If more complex questions arise, an attorney experienced in credit card law can often provide helpful advice.