Thursday, August 20, 2009

With Plastic, Beware and Be Informed...

Picture taken by Fu of Eiko (the dog) and her 1st credit card. I found this on flickr and thought it was too cute to pass up for this post. Okay, now into the important matters for today....

This past weekend, Michelle Singletary from The Color of Money in the Washington Post wrote an article called "With Plastic, Beware and Be Informed."

Well, my friends this Thursday is an important day in the credit card world. A few key provisions go into effect today that I would like to bring your attention to.

They are:
  • Creditors are now required to give you 45 days written notice before increasing your interest rate. You can go here to refresh your understanding of what an interest rate is: Janie Out of Debt Baffle Bag.

Note: It used to be that creditors were required to give 15 days written notice so this is an improvement. Now we just need to get to get those creditors to increase the font size on their small print and make it understandable. I would like to be able to open up my credit card mail and not think, "There is no way I can understand this." I still do this even today and that is why in future posts I plan to dissect the fine print and make it understandable to a real person like me.

  • Creditors must inform you in the same "interest rate hike notice" from above of your right to cancel the credit card account before the increase or change goes into effect.

Beginning in February 2010, credit card due dates must be on the same day each month. If your due date falls on a day that the creditor does not accept payments by mail (such as weekends or holidays), the creditor cannot treat a payment received the following day as late.

This brings me to another important point. I always pay my credit card a week before it is due. I do this so I don't miss the due date and get a late payment. But I also do this so it gives me ample amount of time to check to make sure the payment went through. If there is a mistake then it gives me time before the due date to clear up any mistakes.

I hope this was helpful today. Be on the look out for those future posts where I dissect the credit card's fine print that no one understands or reads (well, I am sure someone does). But I have had a credit card since 1996 and I still haven't sat down to read the fine print yet.

You are doing great! How are those mini-vacations going? I am about to take one myself.

Best wishes,


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