In the face of any credit card abuse or dispute with a retailer or credit card issuer, knowing your rights helps you protect your wallet and your credit.
In all credit card use stages, these laws address your rights, starting with your credit card application and continuing to your credit card’s billing and service, including any default on your repayment obligations.
To ensure credit card issuers treat you equally, there are laws you need to know build practices and procedural criteria. Your rights surrounding credit cards are also defined by state laws, but we concentrate on federal consumer protections. Here’s your guide to understanding your credit card rights!
Credit Card Fees & Rates
With its various revisions, the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), initially enacted in 1968, forms the core of federal law determining how lenders, including credit card issuers, extend credit to customers.
TILA, introduced by Regulation Z, requires that card issuers correctly report credit card terms at specified times, often in a standardized format.
The goal behind TILA’s criteria is to allow you to understand your credit card terms more efficiently, including the different fees and interest rates paid on your card balance.
It is easier for TILA to read card agreements, applications, and deals and to compare credit cards.
Fees and Rate Changes
At higher rates, you can end up paying additional fees or more interest. Unclear presentation of information or misleading language relating to your credit card’s applicable interest rates or other costs can result in unexpected charges or an increase in the interest you pay on balance.
Before you accept the card, the card issuer must make the terms, fees, and costs of a credit card account available in writing.
You can file a complaint with the CFPB if you feel your card issuer failed to clearly disclose or present details about fees or rate changes.
Sudden Changes to Card Terms and Fees
The most recent law expanding consumer credit card protections is the Credit Card Act of 2009.
The CARD Act, sometimes referred to as the Bill of Rights of Credit Cardholders but officially known as the Credit Card Transparency, Liability, and Disclosure Act, strengthens two consumer protections, as such.
- Makes credit card fees and rates more straightforward so that you can grasp the cost of your card more easily and compare the terms of different cards.
- Prevents the practice of such discriminatory practices by card companies, such as increasing the rate on balances that surpass the credit limit while still enforcing an over-limit charge.
For extra charges and rate changes, continue to do your homework and carefully study cardholder agreements. Find out the actual operation of the card that will cause a rate rise or charge.
You can file a complaint with the CFPB if you believe your card issuer has behaved unlawfully in revealing or presenting details or has paid extra interest or fees prohibited by the CARD Act.
Lost or Stolen Credit Cards
If you lose your credit card or anyone steals it to make transactions, what happens? You will save yourself many headaches and money by quickly reporting your missing or stolen credit card.
When you encounter a missing and stolen credit card, TILA and FCBA explain the procedural steps you can take. You’ll limit your liability as long as you meet these criteria. Immediately report a missing or stolen credit card. The longer you wait, the greater the penalty you will bear.
Scrutinize your statement of billing. In your wallet, your credit card might be hidden away, but someone has taken your card details to make unauthorized charges. Timely scrutiny is the first line of defense.
Examine every billing statement closely, checking the legitimacy of each transaction. Report suspicious transactions immediately. Make a phone call to the toll-free number of the issuer of the card.
Consumer rights related to the inability to make card payments under the cardholder agreement are among the protections included in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
In the unlikely event of a card issuer directing a collection agency to go after you for overdue payment, the FDCPA covers your rights. The FDCPA, including intimidation, misleading claims, and threats, is intended to avoid coercive, unequal, or deceptive collection activities.
You will feel that hiring an attorney is vital if the organization has already filed a complaint against you. Never disregard your lawsuit in any situation. You can forfeit your right to contest the charges if you do not appear in court.
Even if the supporting documentation presented is low, the court may enter a default judgment in the creditor’s favor. Showing up for trial gives you a better chance of withdrawing the case. To find a suitable lawyer, you can refer to the National Association of Consumer Advocates.
You may want to seek a credit counseling service if you can’t fix your credit issues yourself or if you need assistance. Non-profit organizations advise debt customers in every state.
Counselors are seeking to negotiate repayment arrangements that you and your creditors will embrace. They will even help you set up a reasonable budget for yourself. Usually, these programs are delivered at little to no expense.