CARD Act not adversely affecting borrowers, study finds

In February 2010, The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 went into full effect, with many financial institutions warning it could make it more difficult and expensive for consumers to gain access to credit.

However, a new study by the Center for Responsible Lending found neither of these premonitions have come to pass in the full year since the law’s enactment.

In its executive summary, the research group found the only significant change in the lending industry over the last year has been in the interest rates issuers advertise in their credit card offers. While these rates have increased as part of many companies’ marketing strategies, the actual rate of consumer interest charges has seen no real change.

In addition, the report found more than $12.1 billion worth of previously undisclosed annual fees were now being openly advertised to consumers. The group said that over time this would spur competition in the lending industry and make it harder for major issuers to arbitrarily raise prices.

Despite these findings, many major banks object to parts of the legislation arguing the regulations will cost them billions of dollars annually and force them to raise prices on products.