New credit card protections take effectFeb. 22, and to help you understand thekey changes, we have outlined what creditcards were like before the new law (theCredit CARD Act) and how they’redifferent now.
BEFORE THE CARD ACT: Credit cardcompanies could increase your interestrate at any time for any reason.NOW: In general, credit card companiescan’t increase your rates within the firstyear after you open a new account. Theyalso can’t increase the rate to an existingcredit card balance. If they do plan toincrease your rate, they must give you a45-day notice and the opportunity tocancel the card.
BEFORE: In a practice called universaldefault, credit card companies could upyour card’s interest rate if you were lateon
separate payments, such as yourutility bills or cell phone bill.NOW: This practice is illegal; credit cardcompanies can’t raise the rate you pay ona credit card because of the way you payother bills.
BEFORE: Credit card companies couldtack on an extra fee if you went over yourcredit card limit, even if you didn’t intendto go over the limit. For example, youcould get a $30 fee for charging $8,009 onan $8,000-limit credit card.NOW: You must opt-in if you want toaccept over-the-limit fees and the abilityto charge more than your limit. Withoutyour approval,Mark your calendars! National ConsumerProtection Week (NCPW) is March 7-13,when consumer advocates will travelthroughout Ohio to help you and yourfamily make the most of your money.NCPW partners willhost financial fairs,community forums andeducational workshops.They’ll provide you withthe information andtools you need tomanage your money,prevent identity theft, understand yourcredit and avoid unfair and deceptivebusiness practices.NCPW partners include Ohio AttorneyGeneral Richard Cordray’s office, OhioDepartment of Commerce, OhioDepartment of Aging, Ohio Department of Insurance, Office of the Ohio Consumers’Counsel, the Ohio Housing FinanceAgency, Internal Revenue Service, U.S.Postal Service, Social SecurityAdministration, Ohio Better BusinessBureaus, Federal Trade Commission, theOffice of Senator Sherrod Brown, ProSeniors and housing counseling agencies.To find an event near you, visitwww.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/NCPW or call (800) 282-0515.If you can’t make it to NCPW, you canrequest a consumer speaker any time of the year atwww.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/ ConsumerWorkshops.
Continued on page 2
Have you received a suspicious e-mail, a fishy phone call or anunexpected check in the mail? Let usknow about it.Using our new “report a scam” tool,you can quickly and easily submitinformation any time you suspect ascam. The information you providewill be used to help the AttorneyGeneral’s Office track trends andalert the public about emergingscams.Even if you haven’t lost any moneyor aren’t sure it’s a scam, take a fewseconds to submit a report. By doingso, you’re playing a critical role inkeeping Ohioans safe.To report a scam, visitwww.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/ ReportaScam.