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Authors

Curtis Arnold
Curtis Arnold, Editor-in-Chief
Joe Taylor
Joe Taylor Jr., Reporter
Amber Stubbs
Amber Stubbs, Managing Editor

Credit Card Law

  • Judge strikes down debit card rate cap, suggests lower fees for merchants

    Bankers call it a "windfall" for retailers, while merchants call it a chance to set "wrongs right." Either way, a late July decision by U.S. District Judge Richard Leon could impact consumers who use traditional bank accounts with linked debit cards. Judge Leon struck down a Federal Reserve rule that capped debit card processing fees [...]

  • FTC proposes limiting telemarketing sales to credit cards and mailed payments

    A proposal to update telemarketing regulations could restrict most "business-to-consumer" transactions to credit cards or mailed payments. In a statement to reporters, Federal Trade Commission officials announced their intentions to amend the Telemarketing Sales Rule so it forbids telemarketers from using remote checking account withdrawals or money transfers as forms of payment. FTC investigators reported that [...]

  • Stay-at-home spouses regain access to credit card offers after CFPB rule change

    Stay-at-home spouses no longer have to skirt federal rules when completing credit card applications, thanks to a new ruling from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In a formal filing to the Federal Register, the CFPB clarified its position on whether spouses and partners without independent sources of income can reasonably expect to access joint savings [...]

  • California credit card ruling raises consumer privacy concerns

    A court ruling in California could pit privacy-conscious credit card users against retailers in a conflict over how companies can use customer information. In a February decision, the California Supreme Court ruled that online merchants selling digital downloads can ask for shoppers' personally identifiable information, such as ZIP codes and phone numbers, even if that [...]

  • Grocers reject Visa and MasterCard settlement deal, while legislators work to ban credit card surcharges

    As even more retailers back away from a proposed settlement with credit card issuers over payment processing fees, state legislators consider new rules that would prevent merchants from recouping costs with surcharges. In a unanimous decision, the board of the National Grocers Association voted to formally object to a deal with Visa and MasterCard that [...]

  • Federal Trade Commission investigates debit card processing fee limits

    The Federal Trade Commission left a Christmas Eve gift for Congress, in the form of a ten-page report outlining its enforcement of 2010's Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Among other changes to federal finance regulations, the Dodd-Frank Act overhauled rules related to how much banks can charge retailers to process debit and [...]

  • FTC shuts down telemarketers promising balance transfer offers

    Government officials announced plans to halt operations that promised credit card balance transfers, low interest credit cards and other forms of debt relief. According to spokespeople at the Federal Trade Commission, continuing crackdowns on debt relief scams have resulted in at least seven court-ordered shutdowns during November and December. According to FTC spokesman Mitchell J. Katz, [...]

  • Restaurant owners reject proposed Visa, Mastercard swipe fee settlement

    The country's largest restaurant trade group joined a chorus of detractors claiming that a proposed settlement over credit card interchange fees doesn't go far enough to foster competition among merchant banks. In a statement to reporters, Dawn Sweeney, President and CEO of the National Restaurant Association, said that the pending deal with Visa, MasterCard, and [...]

  • NCPA rejects credit card transaction fee settlement

    Pharmacists joined convenience store owners, co-op operators, and Walmart in rejecting a proposed $7.25 billion settlement over credit card transaction fees. Leaders of the National Community Pharmacists Association issued a statement this month expressing concerns about the deal involving Visa, MasterCard, Bank of America, Citibank, and a host of other banks and transaction processing companies. According [...]

  • Law professor questions banks' adherence to student credit card rules

    Credit card issuers have found loopholes in regulations designed to limit marketing of student credit cards on campus, according to a professor at the University of Houston Law Center. In a new study released this month, professor Jim Hawkins reveals evidence that the Credit CARD Act has done relatively little to restrict aggressive sales tactics [...]

  • Hawaii sues credit card issuers for faulty consumer charges

    Seven major credit card companies and banks have been sued by the state of Hawaii for charging customers for products and services they didn't sign up for. The lawsuit is the latest in a string of complaints about what are being called fraudulent or erroneous charges by banks trying to recoup the losses felt from [...]

  • FTC wants to beef up consumer privacy standards

    Federal Trade Commission chairman Jon Leibowitz testified before Congress this month, calling his agency's new privacy framework a "decisive moment" for consumer privacy. In March, the FTC unveiled the final version of a report it has worked on since releasing an early public draft in December 2010. The report impacts credit card issuers, technology companies, and [...]

  • CFPB targets debt collectors, credit reporting agencies

    Debt collectors and credit reporting agencies will face new federal scrutiny under a proposal from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, officials announced this month. After signing a pledge with the Federal Trade Commission to avoid doubling up on bank investigations, CFPB Director Richard Cordray issued a statement to reporters about his agency's goal to bring [...]

  • Citibank deems frequent flier miles taxable income

    The value of frequent flier miles is coming under fire as Citibank recently issued IRS 1099 tax forms to members who received miles as an incentive to open a checking or savings account. In reporting an assigned dollar value to the miles, the bank is saying those miles represent taxable income. Whether or not the [...]

  • CFPB, FTC pledge to not "double-team" banks

    Now that President Obama has appointed Richard Cordray as director of the fledgling Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the agency has ramped up its efforts to investigate and spotlight Americans' complaints about credit card issuers. The CFPB and the Federal Trade Commission released a memorandum of understanding about how the two government offices will collaborate on [...]

  • Supreme Court could bring arbitration back to credit card agreements

    A recent Supreme Court ruling could restore binding arbitration clauses to the terms and conditions of many American credit cards. Eight of the Supreme Court Justices ruled in favor of CompuCredit, a company marketing credit cards for bad credit. The company's customers had attempted to sue CompuCredit for marketing a Visa credit card that only [...]

  • Poker site operator pleads guilty to credit card charges

    Online poker website operator Brent Beckley surrendered to prosecutors and pled guilty to accepting credit cards for player bets, despite a United States ban. Credit card purchases for pet food and fitted sheets led federal investigators to Beckley's collection of front companies. Although Visa and MasterCard statements showed transactions from legitimate-sounding retailers, officials discovered the [...]

  • CFPB proposes public credit card complaint database

    As the government's personal finance watchdog sets its sights on reducing complaints about credit cards, banking lobbyists warn that negativity could sour public perception of the industry. After nearly six months of listening to cardholder concerns via its website, Twitter accounts, and toll free phone number, officials at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reported its [...]

  • Credit cards seen as more fair after CARD Act

    Only about one in eight Americans feel their credit card companies treated them unfairly in 2011, according to a nationwide survey commissioned by Consumer Reports. That's less than half the number of similar responses generated in 2009, the year that regulators passed the Credit CARD Act. The Consumer Reports National Research Center interviewed 1,258 consumers [...]

  • Durbin saves small businesses $1.8M in 3 days

    Proponents of the Durbin Amendment to the Dodd-Frank Act claimed that capping debit card transaction fees would create a trickle-down effect for both small businesses and consumers. This month, one of the country's largest credit card processors released specific details about the new regulation's impact on its customers. In a statement to reporters, representatives from [...]

  • California restricts employer access to credit reports

    Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill into law that restricts California employers' abilities to make hiring and promotion decisions based on the contents of employees' and applicants' credit reports. Democratic State Assemblyman Tony Mendoza sponsored bill AB22, proposing tighter clamps on the kinds of companies that can access information about prospective employees' credit card, auto [...]

  • Chase prevails, court says penalty interest rates OK

    Whether or not credit card interest rates can go up as a result of the Credit CARD Act of 2009 has been the source of much confusion. A new federal court ruling ends some of the debate, at least for now. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has dismissed a lawsuit (McCoy v. [...]

  • Credit card hotline goes live at new consumer bureau

    Credit card companies have a new watchdog, with a robust online presence and a consumer hotline. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau launched in July, settling into the authority granted by last year's financial reform legislation. Americans can report problems with credit cards, bank accounts, mortgages and other financial products by calling (855) 411-2372 or visiting [...]

  • Fed: Banks must release credit score when denying credit card application

    Credit card applicants can see their credit scores for free if a bank used that score to decline service, according to the Federal Reserve. The Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Reserve Board jointly announced their rules for implementing free credit score notifications under the the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The Fair [...]

  • Fed splits the difference on debit card fee caps

    The Federal Reserve split the difference in the debate over debit card transaction fees this week, setting a flexible interchange fee cap much higher than the hard limit retailers requested, although still significantly lower than current charges. The Fed's ruling sets a base maximum rate of 21 cents per transaction, plus up to 0.05 percent [...]

  • CARD Act tweaks offer new consumer protections

    The Credit Card Act of 2009 resulted in credit card companies making various changes to their consumer credit application process, promotional rates, and fee structure. A recently approved amendment to the CARD Act attempts to further protect consumers from overextending their credit, changing terms of promotions and being charged excessive fees. On March 18, 2011, the [...]

  • Vermont Law Encourages Credit Card Minimum Purchases

    Vermont lawmakers challenged credit card company rules this month by passing a law designed to reduce retailers' overhead. Along with language targeting identity theft, the bill protects merchants who want to set minimum sale amounts for credit card purchases. Under Vermont's bill--which goes to the governor for signature--merchants cannot be penalized for giving a discount [...]

  • Discover Card CEO Warns Employees to Brace for Impact of New Credit Card Rules

    The head of Discover Card warned employees that credit card reforms backed by Congress could hurt some of their company's best customers. Speaking to a gathering of employees and reporters at the company's Salt Lake City facility, CEO David Nelms admitted that "the ultra-low rates of the past 10 years aren't going to be available anymore." Nelms [...]

  • San Diego Lawyer Sues Credit Card Issuer Over Rate Increase

    One San Diego attorney isn't giving up his credit limit without a fight. A report in the Huffington Post profiles Ben Pavone, a Bank of America accountholder who uses a high limit credit card to smooth out the cash flow for his legal practice. When Pavone requested a slight increase to his credit line during [...]

  • Online Credit Card Chargebacks Gain Attention from NY Attorney General

    After months of scrutiny from Congressional investigators, a trio of online marketing companies has been targeted by New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. Webloyalty, Affinion, and Vertrue all offer subscription-based discount programs that generate new memberships from special ads placed on the final page of an e-commerce site's checkout process. According to investigators, many [...]

  • Fed Updates Regulation Z Credit Card Rules Before Deadline

    The credit card industry has known about the February 22nd deadline for implementation of the Credit CARD Act's new lending rules since the law was signed last May. This week, the Federal Reserve issued the formal regulations required by Congress, setting new ground rules for card issuers. By amending Regulation Z, the document that regulates American [...]

  • Credit Card Rules Change Banks' Notification Policies

    Two provisions of the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act take affect this month, impacting the ways that credit card issuers communicate with their customers. For cardholders, these new rules reduce the risk of missing payments due to delayed deliveries. They also address critics of the credit card industry, who accused many banks of relying [...]

  • Credit Card Marketing Restricted on Illinois College Campuses

    Credit card-sponsored frisbees, t-shirts, and travel vouchers for college students become a thing of the past on Illinois campuses this January. On August 11, Governor Pat Quinn signed a sweeping new law that restricts the marketing activities of credit card issuers on college campuses. The law also requires colleges to disclose revenues from co-branded credit cards and [...]

  • California Legislation Helps Curb Card Fraud

    In the interest of preventing credit card fraud, lawmakers and policy makers throughout the United States are introducing legislation that will make it more difficult for individuals to have their identity stolen from old sales receipts. In the past, federal laws have been enacted to help protect victims of identity theft; one specific example is the [...]