Pew: Deceptive Credit Practices Rising

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A new Pew Charitable Trusts report shows that despite the threat of Congressional action, deceptive credit card practices are on the rise.

After examining roughly 400 consumer credit cards, it was found that credit card companies had either raised interest and penalty rates, imposed higher fees, increased minimum payment, or reduced lines of credit.

"Since passage of the Credit CARD Act, we found that credit card issuers have done little to remove practices deemed unfair or deceptive by the Federal Reserve," said Shelley A. Hearne, managing director of the Pew Health Group, which oversees the project.

"In fact, some of the most harmful practices have actually grown more widespread. Not one of the bank cards reviewed would meet the legal requirements outlined in the Credit CARD Act, which is bad news for consumers," she added.

ABC News reports that 12 leading bank card issuers continued to engage in practices that will soon be outlawed.

"When the Credit CARD Act takes effect next year Americans can expect to see safer, more transparent cards," Nick Bourke, manager of Pew's Safe Credit Cards Project, said.

"How well the new law works, however, will depend significantly on how the Federal Reserve creates new rules under the law to protect consumers.

New credit card laws are scheduled to go into effect in February 2010. Until then, experts are warning consumers to shop around and "read the fine print."

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