Schiff is proud to be a cosponsor of the Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights (H.R. 627), legislation to give consumers the rights and information about credit cards that will help them make educated decisions about their financial lives and could save some families thousands of dollars.
Credit-card debt in the U.S. has reached a record high --nearly $1 trillion -- and almost half of American families currently carry a balance, and their average balance was $7,300 in 2007. One-fifth of those carrying credit-card debts pay an interest rate above 20 percent. In 2008, credit-card issuers imposed $19 billion in penalty fees on families with credit cards.
This legislation applies common-sense regulations that would ban unfair rate increases and forbid abusive fees and penalties. For example, it will prohibit retroactive interest rate hikes on existing balances, double-cycle billing (charging interest twice for balances paid on time), and due-date gimmicks. It will also require 45-days' advance notice of interest rate, fees, and finance charges hikes, and requires payments to be applied fairly to the highest interest rate balance first. By providing consumers with clear information and transparency, families will be better equipped to manage their finances in these difficult times.
Schiff was present at the White House when President Obama signed the Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights into law on May 22, 2009.