New credit card law

FRESNO, Calif. In fact, you may already be feeling the effects. That's because credit card companies raised interest rates to record highs preparing for the new law.

This new legislation is the first time in more than 40 years that the government has changed the way credit card companies do business.

It's supposed to help consumers but some say it will make it more difficult for them to make ends meet.

If you use a credit card, or plan to do so in the future, there are major changes ahead.

The Federal Credit Card Act takes effect Monday.

It's designed to protect consumers and force credit card companies to be more transparent about what they charge.

Fresno-based credit counselor Martha Lucey says the new law is groundbreaking.

"Yeah, there are really three key areas that are incorporated in the act. The first is limitations on fees that can be charged, the second area is disclosures and making sure people understand the interest they're paying linked to their account, and the third area is consumer protection," Lucey said.

-The credit card act will prohibit banks from charging interest on late and over limit fees.
-credit card companies can no longer automatically increase your limit, unless you agree.
-and you cannot be charged to make a credit card payment by internet or phone.

But some say one of the biggest changes will affect people under the age of 21.

"Now, people under 21 will not be able to open up a credit card unless they have a co-signer or a demonstrated ability to pay so it's really going to restrict access."

Something students say will do more harm than good.

"I am transferring so i might need one once I transfer after this semester and it will be hard for me because my parents might not support it," Zunair Sheikh said.

"Maybe it's hard for people because they make bad decisions and get in debt, but still, like there are a lot of college students that are learning to be an adult, and they should be able to do that." April Guajrdo said.

Credit card companies are expected to lose billions once this new law takes effect.

To make up for the lost revenue, experts warn credit card companies will start adding extra charges for things like paper statements and annual fees.

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