Obama Calls for Credit Card Reform

In his weekly internet and radio address today, President Barack Obama called for on Congress to pass a credit card reform bill that would “stop credit card companies from imposing certain late fees,” by Memorial Day.¬†

Coming in on the side of consumers, Obama said¬†that “it is past time for rules that are fair and transparent.”

“Instead of an ‘anything goes’ approach, we need strong and reliable protections for consumers. Instead of fine print that hides the truth, we need credit card forms and statements that have plain language in plain sight, and we need to give people the tools they need to find a credit card that meets their needs,” he said in his weekly radio and internet address. “And instead of abuse that goes unpunished, we need to strengthen monitoring, enforcement, and penalties for credit card companies that take advantage of ordinary Americans.”

President Obama also said that Americans “have a right to not get ripped off by the sudden rate hikes, unfair penalties and hidden fees that have become all too common to our credit card industry.”

Watch the video here:

With so many consumers struggling in the recession, many under mountains of debt and the economic picture not improving, Congress can’t afford to wait on passing this legislation that will help consumers rather than allow credit card companies to continue to make bank by “misleading working families.”

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One Response to Obama Calls for Credit Card Reform

  1. Paul Lehto says:

    A comment based in large part on my decade or so of past experience practicing consumer protection law:

    Transparency, while critically important, at bottom only provides data or information, and eliminates secrecy and surprise. That’s necessary, but not sufficient at all.

    The entire sub-prime market is based on people who mostly can’t qualify for reasonable terms and are forced into usurious terms at varying levels of unconscionability. For years, the Fair Credit REporting Act has required bold disclosures of the true cost of the credit, including all fees that are really disguised interest, so that the consumer is either informed on a basic level of the true cost of the credit or else (if there’s nondisclosure) has a cause of action to sue.

    Transparency (data) is like a clean windshield on a car, and clean windows on all sides, allowing us to know what’s going on. But without a steering wheel, gas pedal and brakes, or the POWER to do something about the information we receive via “transparency”, we might, much like someone caught on a railroad train track in front of an oncoming train without a working steering wheel or gas pedal, rationally prefer non-transparency to the horror of having information and not being able to act effectively upon it.

    I support the transparency, but whether the bill is substantially improving things depends on the remedies and options consumers have in real life, not just in a better awareness of just how badly they’re being taken to the cleaners by banks.