University of Illinois Extension

Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights Act of 2009

Disclosure

  • Credit card issuers are required to post their credit card agreements on the Internet. They must also disclose the consequences of making only the minimum payment - how much interest will be paid and how long it will take to pay the debt.
  • Credit card solicitations should include information about the effects of too many credit report inquiries.
  • Billing statements must include detailed pay-off information.
  • You must be notified 45 days in advance of any changes to your account, such as an increase in the interest rate, fees, or finance charges. Card issuers need to provide a 30-day advance notice if your account is to be closed.

Fees

  • You cannot be charged a fee for paying your bill online or by phone, unless it is a last-minute payment by phone and your bill is due the same day or next day.
  • Card issuers cannot charge over-limit fees unless you have agreed in advance to buy this protection.

Students

  • You must be 21 years of age to get a credit card. If you are under the age of 21, you must have a co-signer or proof that you can repay the debt.
  • Aggressive marketing to college students will be prohibited.

Gift Cards

  • Gift cards cannot expire for five years. If not used within a reasonable amount of time, card values cannot decrease or contain hidden fees.

For More Information

For more information about the Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights Act of 2009, check out these web sites:

For more information about credit, see other Credit Card Smarts fact sheets. Related fact sheets are "Fair Credit Reporting Act Update" and "Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act."

Sources:

Lezaja, M. Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights Act (HR627).(2009, May).Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law.

Trejos, N. and Clark, P. Change is Coming to Your Wallet. (2009, May 24). The Washington Post.

Written by Evelyn Prasse, Consumer and Family Economics Educator, Rockford Extension Center, University of Illinois Extension, 2009.

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