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New Credit Card Rules

The government has finalized its long-awaited credit-card regulations. But the key provision won’t take effect until Sept.1, 2010.

Over the last few years, credit card issuers have been shortening the interest-free grace period you get on new purchases if you pay your balance in full. The new minimum will be 21-days but not until next September.

There are some new consumer protection measures that will be in place by January first. The federal government is requiring banks give consumers advance disclosure of interest rate increases before they take effect, even if this information had been included in the credit contract.

And lenders will have to obtain express consent for credit limit increases, provide a summary box on statements to describe all fees, and put limits on debt collection practices.

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