Capitol Hill Eyes Credit Card Freeze This Winter

At Representative Betsy Markey's office, mounting phone calls and letters about sudden changes to credit card interest rates and service fees has spurred new debate over banking regulations. Over the past few months, many consumers have been shocked to find sudden increases in their interest rates and steep drops in their available credit. Although some banks' customer service representatives explain these moves as reactions to a slow economy, Markey and her constituents believe that the account changes reflect a desire among lenders to "reprice" credit card accounts before new legislation prohibits such action.

Credit Card Legislation

Therefore, Markey introduced new legislation this week aimed at freezing further changes to credit card accounts until the next wave of approved lending rules takes effect in February. Senate Banking Chairman Chris Dodd has sponsored similar legislation in his branch of Congress, with growing support on Capitol Hill. While some credit card issuers, including Bank of America and Capital One, have voluntarily announced freezes on existing account terms, other banks may find themselves in lawmakers' cross-hairs before the start of the holiday shopping season.

About the Author


Joe Taylor Jr. is an internal business consultant for a Fortune 500 company, who writes about finance, culture, and design. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Communications from Ithaca College.