In the news

Seattle PI
Rita R. Robison

Credit card issuers, many the same banks that are receiving huge government bailout funds, are figuring out ways to gouge consumers daily to make more money to improve their financial situations.

One of the latest ploys: Credit card customers who are a day late with payment can see their interest rates rise from 12 percent to 36 percent. And it's not just on the card for which the payment was late. Interest rates are being raised for different cards as well. It's called universal default.

In addition, credit card issuers are tripling interest rates for any reason, including no reason, even for longtime customers who've done nothing wrong.

President Obama recently met with credit card industry leaders and told them he'd backing congressional reforms.

Last week, the House of Representatives passed the Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights by a 357 to 70 vote.

WashPIRG, a citizen advocacy group, is urging consumers to e-mail their senators and ask that they vote for these reforms.

They would prevent credit card companies from changing due dates to trick consumers into paying a few days late, then tripling interest rates on top of a late fee. They also would ban universal default and would protect young people from unfair credit card company practices.

Despite the failures in the banking industry, banking lobbyists in Washington, D.C., still have a great deal of power. They're pushing Democrats and Republicans hard to defeat credit card reforms. Last week, they killed a critical mortgage reform bill.

Don't let credit card reform be defeated. Act today for strong protection against credit card rip-offs.

For more information for boomer consumers, see my blog The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide.

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