Pros and Cons of Financial Overhaul Bill for Chicago Consumers

It looks like the financial reform bill will pass - though just barely. But what does it mean for you - and specifically, for that debt you're carrying around?

If all goes according to plan, the overhaul will do more than aim to avert another financial crisis, say Chicago bankruptcy attorneys. It will alter the way we use our credit and debit cards and qualify for a home loan. What it won't do, however, is automatically solve all our debt problems. That's still up to us.

There's no doubt that the changes stand to make managing our finances a little easier. For instance, a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will be able to come up with its own consumer protection rules, and will even have the power to ban bank tricks like the sneaky fine print in loan or credit card agreements.

A limit will be placed on how much banks can charge businesses for credit card transactions. That means you'll be able to swipe your card at more places, like small restaurants and retail shops. And maybe most importantly, it will be easier to get a hold of your credit score. You probably already know that you qualify for one free credit report annually from the three major credit bureaus, but until now getting your paws on your actual score usually cost money. Not so once the reform is underway.

Now for the reality check. Whether or not your credit terms are hidden in fine print, you're not going to understand them if you don't do the research. If you want to avoid unnecessary fees and interest, make sure to read your statement thoroughly each month, as well as the account updates your creditor sends in the mail. Next, try to keep enough cash on hand so you don't have to use your credit card every time you're in a restaurant. If you've already got too much debt, more opportunities to use credit aren't convenient - they're dangerous. Finally, though it's a good idea to keep an eye on your credit card score, you should be able to get an idea of where you stand by how responsibly you use credit. If you're missing payments and maxing out cards, you don't need a piece of paper to tell you it's time to make some changes.

In summary, yes, there are helpful changes included in the financial overhaul. But personal responsibility plays a big role, too. The good news? You have the power to make a difference in your finances. And with bankruptcy, not even debt will stand in your way. Learn how bankruptcy can give you a fresh start - financial reform or not - when you try a free personal debt analysis with a Chicago bankruptcy lawyer.

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