According to the Consumer Protection Board, most consumers have at least seven credit cards. Unfortunately, the companies that issue the cards use many unfair tactics such as changing terms and interest rates without properly notifying customers and charging hidden fees that consumers do not always fully understand.
An introduction to the Consumer Protection Board survey notes that responses to the survey help shape policy. Questions on the survey include how many cards the participant has, how the participant learned about his credit cards, whether or not the participant compared the terms and conditions of his credit card, and what purposes the credit card is used for. The survey also asks whether the respondent understands the terms and conditions, knows what the annual interest rate is, and if the interest was ever raised because of a late payment on another loan.
In addition to its survey, the Consumer Protection Board is also encouraging consumers to take part in a letter-writing campaign to tell Congress and banking regulators how they feel about current credit card industry practices. A model letter provided on the website states, "As a New York State consumer, I believe that credit card companies have severely impeded my ability to make an informed decision about credit card options." The letter then calls on regulators to improve the readability of credit card agreements and put an end to universal defaults, unilateral changes in contract terms, over-limit fees, phone payment charges, and late fees when the due date is on a weekend or holiday.
In a statement on the Consumer Protection Board website, Consumer Protection Board Chairperson and Executive Director Mindy Bockstein said, "Juggling credit cards and excessive debt is typical for most American households. But trying to keep all that debt in the air is made more difficult by the anti-consumer practices that are far too typical in the credit-card industry."
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However, it is not just a late payment that gets a credit card issuer's attention. Consumers who have high balances on other credit cards may notice their rates go up as well. One woman, as profiled on NBC News10, had her interest rate more than triple to 27.99 percent after her introductory period. The company did this because the customer's high balances on two other cards made her a risk to them.