Federal Reserve Board Publishes Credit Card Rule Changes

The Federal Reserve Board finalized amendments to its list of credit card regulations, bringing those policies into alignment with industry changes mandated by the Credit CARD Act. Signed into law in May 2009, the Credit CARD Act places strict limits on the ways lenders can market and maintain credit card accounts. Changes to Regulation Z, the Board's comprehensive Truth in Lending policy document, include:

  • prohibiting interest rate increases on credit card accounts less than a year old,
  • prohibiting interest rate increases on existing balances, except for temporary penalty rates,
  • requiring borrowers to "opt-in" to overlimit charges and fees,
  • limiting interest rates on subprime credit cards, and
  • limiting access to credit cards for Americans under the age of 21.

Policymakers have submitted the changes for publication to the Federal Register. Upon publication, citizens and credit card company representatives will both enjoy a thirty day period for open comment on the changes. Although the FRB may make minor amendments to Regulation Z based on public comment, the Credit CARD Act mandates that core changes to credit card rules take effect in February 2010.