The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

New credit rules limit customers

Viewpoint by Joshua Knopp/entertainment editor

Do we, on an individual basis, really need this?

Throughout 2010, President Barack Obama has been signing bills that attempt to regulate banks toward being fairer to their customers. These laws have had a myriad of great effects. For instance, companies cannot heighten interest rates without notification or consent.

But the laws require much more than this. These bills are designed to make credit card companies more transparent even beyond the fine print. When signing for a loan, for instance, a lender is required to show customers how much they will be paying in total if they only make the minimum payments. Banks are now not allowed to sign up people under 21 for a credit card unless applicants prove their source of income or have a co-signer.

Additionally, some banks are featuring new options that allow the customers to get text messages with their account statements and to place spending limits on certain kinds of items instead of just an impartial total that can be put on that card.

Let’s examine this: These limits are designed to be set by customers with a lack of control over their spending. Even admitting a need for help controlling consumption, couldn’t you just go to an ATM and keep spending? Is a bank’s forcing you to stop spending suddenly more legal than letting you spend irresponsibly?

These changes are all designed to do one thing — stop the cardholder from doing something stupid. Isn’t it easier to just be aware and not do anything ill-advised?

“The best way for people to maintain control of their finances is to know how much money they have in the bank,” said Joe Stroop, a Wells Fargo communications official.

These new additions to banking plans will assist consumers in doing that. But could these consumers not also check the myriad of media that already had their account information, such as an ATM, or look online or drop by the bank itself?

While I am all for making things easier, these tactics feel excessive. This feels like banks have gone from gouging the public to holding its hand. Does the average consumer really not know what is going on with their finances? Are we really that irresponsible?

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