WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today in support of the Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights Act, which passed the House today with bipartisan support and will now go to the President for his signature:
“If this recession has brought home one important truth, it is the danger of debt. Americans from homeowners to bankers took on risks and debts they could not afford, and the result was a crisis that touched every one of us. I don’t think the lesson is one we will soon forget.
“But nearly as harmful are those who take advantage of our debt—and in that category, unfortunately, go many of America’s credit card companies. No one doubts that credit cards have become an essential part of our consumer economy; no one doubts that millions of Americans use their credit cards responsibly every day, and pay their bills every month. But even for those responsible cardholders, credit card policies have often been incomprehensible and exploitative.
“The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act takes important steps to bring those harmful policies under control, ensuring that responsible cardholders are treated fairly. Among its provisions, this bill prevents arbitrary and unfair rate increases, which, under current policies, can kick in even for cardholders who pay their balances in full. It bans exorbitant and unnecessary fees, including fees charged just for paying your bill. It prohibits credit card companies from charging interest on debt that is paid on time, a practice known as double-cycle billing. And it insists that card companies disclose their policies clearly and openly to cardholders, and notify them when those policies have changed.
“I want to thank Rep. Maloney, who sponsored the House companion of this bill, and who has been a tireless advocate of credit card reform. This bill goes a long way toward removing a persistent source of unfairness in the lives of many Americans. Debt is a part of any economy—but it must be treated responsibly, and it must be guarded from exploitation. That is what this bill accomplishes.”