Credit Card Laws and You

More control over fees, fees, fees

Every year Americans pay $15 billion in credit card penalty fees.

The CARD Act has two main provisions to protect consumers from unfair fees and penalties.

First, credit card companies must give consumers at least 21 days to pay their bills. Also, they must set due dates that are consistent each month. No weekend, holiday, or middle-of-the-day payment deadlines.

Second, consumers must opt in to over-limit fees. Before, if a consumer tried to buy a $50 item but only had a $20 available balance on his credit card, his card would be accepted. On his next statement he’d have been charged a fee.

Now, a consumer must opt in to over-limit fees. If he doesn’t, that $50 purchase would be declined and he would not be charged a fee.

Stay off my campus

To protect young consumers, the CARD Act prohibits credit card companies from marketing on or near (any closer than 1,000 yards) college campuses or at a school-related event.

Also, card issuers are prohibited from offering anything tangible to encourage young people to sign up for credit cards.

18? Wait or get a job

Before the CARD Act, receiving a credit card offer on your 18th birthday could have been seen as a rite of passage into the adult world.

Now, companies can’t give a credit card to anyone younger than 21 years old. If someone is underage and wants to open a credit card, a cosigner or proof of income and means to pay is required.

If you want to start building credit now, be smart about it.

Be smart about credit

Despite the protections offered by the CARD Act, whether or not you end up with credit card debt is largely a result of your choices.

A credit card can be a great way for a young adult to build a credit history. Here are some guidelines:

Learn healthy credit and money habits while in high school and college. That way, it’ll be easier and second nature to continue it when you graduate.

Although the CARD Act is there to protect you from unfair credit card practices, it’s not there to protect you from yourself. Be smart with your credit cards.

True or False: Because of terrorist activities, in 2006, the United States of America didn't celebrate Franklin's 300th birthday. Click Ben's head for the answer.
FALSE: Congress established a commission to recommend activities to celebrate Franklin's 300th birthday in 2006, calling him "one of the most extraordinary men of the generation that founded the United States."

Kelsey and friend
Austin, TX
p. 1 2
Recipient's e-mail address
Your e-mail address
"Being a student myself I find that the companies who want to do you wrong will do anything to get their foot in the door, so its nice that there was finally an act put in place to help the people from falling into the trap."
eafdahl, 17, san antonio, TX

Rate this Story

You must be logged in to post comments.

This space is for each subscribing credit union's unique invitation to elementary, middle, and high school students.
If no text is added by the subscriber, CUNA displays default text describing why credit unions are important to their members.