Creditors Add New Fees Before Card Reform Takes Effect
For every two steps forward, credit card companies just have to take one step back.
You've probably already heard about the new credit card legislation going into effect to protect consumers from hidden fees and unfair rate hikes. As of February, that means no more double-billing cycles. No more confusing fine print. No more raising your interest rate unless you're at least 60 days late on a payment - and even then, restoring your original rate if you prove that you can pay your bills on time.
That's the good news. The bad news? Creditors say that they'll have to make up for their lost income by punishing all of their customers - good credit or not - with annual fees and higher interest rates. And they mean business. Bank of America recently announced plans to test a $29 annual fee on its rewards cards.
While getting rid of hidden fees is definitely a much-needed change, the addition of new fees proves that big banks care only about their bottom line - not yours. If you regularly rely on credit, look at this as a wake-up call. Do you really want to do business with a company that charges you for spending your own paycheck? Sure, an extra 30 bucks or so a year might seem minimal, but remember - it comes on top of interest rates so high they could keep you in debt for decades.
I'm not saying you should take a pair of scissors to your credit card just yet. Carefully-used credit can be an important tool when it comes to getting a home loan and dealing with unexpected emergencies - and there's no denying plastic's convenience. But the truth is, that's not why most of us use credit cards nowadays. Most of us rely on credit to spend beyond our means. And once our debt is out of control, we feel we have no choice but to keep using credit. But we do have a choice.
If you're in over your head with your credit card debt, it's not too late to get help. The longer you wait, the bigger your debt will get. Save money in the future by putting a stop to it today. When you sign up for a free personal debt analysis, our Atlanta bankruptcy attorneys can identify a bankruptcy plan to reduce or eliminate your debt with a payment schedule that's best for you. With a little patience and effort, you'll have your money back where it belongs - out of creditors' hands and in your pockets.