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Undersecretary Barbara AnthonyPosted by:
Barbara Anthony, Undersecretary of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation

Starting tomorrow, you’ll have 21 days to pay your credit card bill, and at least 45 days advance notice if your credit card company is changed your interest rate, the required minimum payment, or increasing fees.

The changes are the first in a series of reforms signed into law by President Obama earlier this year. Other changes will go into effect in February.

These first changes are important ones for consumers. In recent months, in the run-up to the new rules, credit card companies have been making changes to accounts. Many cardholders, for example, have seen immediate increases in their minimum payments. The new rules give cardholders the option of rejecting the changes, and paying off the remaining balance and not using the card any longer.

There are, however, some things consumers should be aware of. New fees are only required to be disclosed before they are imposed. If a low-rate, or zero-percent rate is about to expire, no notice is required if the new rate was originally disclosed. No notice is required if a credit limit is lowered.

These changes are good first steps toward addressing some of the practices of the credit card industry that consumers have complained about, and help many cardholders who were hit hard before these rules were put in place.

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