At last, the provisions of the Credit Card Act of 2009 have taken effect. And yes, several of the most egregious credit card company practices—the sudden skyrocketing of interest rates, for example, or jacking up someone’s interest rate on one card if they’re late on payments to another—have been curtailed. But consumers must stay vigilant. The new Act is costing the credit industry billions, and they’re rolling out their considerable ingenuity to offset those losses. Look for, watch for, new fees and penalties. And now more than ever, reduce, to the fullest extent possible, your use of credit cards. As you pay off your balances, close all but one or two cards. (The rules and regulations of every card are different, and with multiple cards, there’s too much to keep up with.)
Carrie Rattle is a Principal at BehavioralCents.com, a website for women focused on mind and money behaviors. She has worked in the financial services industry for 20+ years and hopes to inspire women to better prepare themselves for financial independence.