When many of us open our wallets, we may see that we have at least one credit card tucked in there that is a source of anxiety. Maybe we are late on a payment or we have reached the credit limit, but these little pieces of plastic that can be so easy to get are often a great source of stress for people across New Jersey. We often ask ourselves why we got that credit card and when we will ever be able to pay it off.
The truth is that it can be very easy to be persuaded to open up a credit card. Low interest fees, high amounts of available credit and the promise of certain perks associated with using the card can all be ways that consumers are encouraged to open up a credit card. But what many companies do not explain is the true cost of having a credit card. But sources say that the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act, which was passed in 2009, is having a very positive effect on protecting consumers from the negative practices of credit card companies.
For many years, credit card companies exploited consumers with promises of low interest rates and fees. But they failed to mention that eventually those rates will skyrocket, making it nearly impossible for people to pay down a balance.
But what the CARD Act did was to clarify and regulate certain practices to help consumers understand their true financial responsibilities and be able to clearly identify fees in order to avoid them. Since the CARD Act went into effect, consumers have seen a $1.5 billion decrease in late payment fees and a $2.5 billion decrease in fees for spending past a credit limit.
The results of the recent reports are certainly promising for people who are struggling with credit card debt, which can already be stressful enough. This type of debt can start small with manageable monthly payments; but seemingly overnight, interest and late fees can balloon those sums into unmanageable debt. Most people would not have expected that signing up for a credit card could have such a dramatic impact on their financial health. But there are ways to tackle credit card debt and seek relief. Working with an attorney can help people identify solutions to debt and take steps to overcome this stressful situation.
Source: CBSNews.com, “Study: Credit card law has cut consumer costs,” Constantine von Hoffman, Oct. 3, 2013
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