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All of the provisions of the Credit Card Act of 2009 have now been implemented. For consumers, this is generally good news. Penalty fees have been capped, notification is required for hikes in interest rates, and gift cards are usable for at least five years. However, credit card companies are already adjusting the way they do business in order to earn additional revenue without breaking the new laws. Here are some of the “tricks” that you may start seeing from credit card companies.
- Increases in rates on balance transfers (from about 3% to 5%)
- Introduction of annual fees on cards which did not previously have them
- Higher annual percentage rates across the board
- Stricter credit score requirements to get the same credit limit or type of credit card that you used to qualify for
- Value reduction on rewards points (i.e., 1 point for every $2 spent instead of $1)
- Introduction of caps, dormancy fees, or expiration deadlines on rewards points
- Loss of rewards points for delinquent accounts
You can find a complete overview of the Credit Card Act of 2009 here.