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

Credit card act a good idea


A new credit card law took effect Feb. 22, which hopefully will reduce financial bullying from banks.

Banks now have to play fair. The law provides plenty of changes, and students should pay attention.

Consumers under 21 cannot get a credit card without a co-signer who is at least 21. Consumers over 21 who want a credit card must have proof of reliable income to pay the card charges.

Parents won’t have to grumble about credit card junk mail when their son or daughter turns 18.

Gone also are over-limit fees and double-cycle billing. Cardholders will not face fees for spending over their credit limit unless they allow the creditor to approve over-limit transactions. Issuers cannot charge more than one over-limit fee per billing cycle.

And card issuers must give the consumer an estimated time of how long it would take to pay off a credit card balance by making minimum payments.

That’s the good news. But banks are finding ways to move around the new card act.

Banks are creating new fees. According to the Web site, Discover Financial Services announced it would start charging a 2 percent fee on all purchases made outside the U.S. JPMorgan Chase is now charging customers a 5 percent fee for rolling over one credit card to another.

Say goodbye to reimbursements and rewards from banks. Creditors like American Express may no longer let customers earn points with their purchases if they are late with a payment.

The new card act is really going to strike a nerve for people who have bad credit. Banks are looking out for risky consumers. Consumers looking for loans will get turned down if banks see any bad credit history.

According to the American Council on Education, 74 percent of college seniors have a credit card. Most will graduate with more than $2,600 in credit card debt and have more than $3,000 owed in student loans.

Credit cards aren’t the only way to earn credit. Students can use checking and savings accounts to establish a good credit history. Lenders know students need money for school. Balancing a checking account is an underrated way of establishing credit.

Joint accounts are also another way to get credit. Students should ask their parents about their credit history and see if a joint credit account is possible. It’s a head start for students to earn a good credit history. Students will have an easier time getting a loan with a joint account as a financial platform.

If students must use a credit card, then it must be for emergencies only. Everybody must eat, but late-night Wendy’s cravings are not reasons to use a credit card. Save it for a rainy day.

The card act will get praise and plenty of naysayers, but hopefully the new laws will keep Americans solvent instead of in debt.

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