Creditors respond to Credit CARD Act with new provisions

The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act of 2009 is designed to help consumers take more control of their personal finances and avoid going into credit card debt. But companies are actively looking for loopholes that will allow them to maintain their income.

“Because card issuers are in the business to make money, you had to think they would find other ways to make up for the revenue they were losing because of the law,” Bill Hardekopf, CEO of informational website LowCards.com, told MarketWatch.com. “Now they are instituting a number of other practices – perfectly legal even after the new law – to make up for lost revenue, and consumers now have some new things to worry about.”

For example, though approximately 80 percent of credit cards have been available without fees, many issuers are reinstituting a fee structure. Sometimes this means “inactivity fees” for those cardholders who don’t use the card for purchases or don’t meet a yearly purchase quota.

Gerri Detweiler, personal financial adviser for Credit.com, explained to MarketWatch that with new services harder to qualify for, it may no longer be viable to switch cards if new policies seem unreasonable. For 2009, carefully managing money and seeking consumer credit counseling may be the best options for cardholders.