| July 1, 2010

Credit card statements get overhaul

In the past, some consumers were confused by the credit card statement they received in the mail every month. This is because companies were not compelled to make them easy to understand.

That will all change, however. According to a report from Bankrate, credit card companies are now required to include clear summaries of both how much consumers owe and what makes up that debt, as well as fees and other penalties they could incur because of a late payment. The summary must include an overview of all account activity for the month, including transactions, fees and interest charges. It will also show the new total balance of the card as well as the credit limit.

The summary of late penalties must show how much the fee for a late payment would be if the minimum isn’t sent in by the due date, Bankrate said. But it also has to include what the penalty interest rate for late payments is.

A report from television station WIFR in Rockford, Illinois, said that credit card companies will now have to send all statements at least 45 days before the due date, allowing consumers to know what they need to pay well in advance.

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