WASHINGTON - President Obama is taking credit card companies to task for the way they treat consumers. He says they've been bad, bad, bad.
Obama had a number of areas of complaint to take up with the credit card executives. Like the fact that they will lure minors into getting credits cards. Or the fact that they'll charge injurious amounts of interest, and for little or no reason, suddenly jack up those interest rates without giving customers much notice.
There's also the fact that they'll often dupe customers into piling up far more debt than they can pay back.
"People finding themselves starting off with a low rate and the next thing they know their interest rates have doubled, fees that they didn't know about that are suddenly tagged onto their bills, a whole lack of clarity and transparency in terms of the terms and conditions," Obama said.
Eight Out of Ten Americans Use Credit Cards
This subject of credit cards is of interest to a vast majority of Americans. About eight out of every 10 American households use credit cards.
"We want to preserve the credit card market, but we also want to do so in a way that eliminates some of the abuses and some of the problems that a lot of people are familiar with," Obama said.
He had a stern warning for the credit card executives: Either regulate yourselves or Congress will.
"There have to be strong and reliable protections for consumers, protections that ban unfair rate increases and forbid abusive fees and penalties," Obama said. "The days of anytime, any reason rate hikes and late fee traps have to end."
A number of congressmen right now are working on putting together a Credit Card Customers' Bill of Rights.