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It seems like credit card companies will be free to scrooge us through holiday season continued credit card interest rate increases. Previously, we discussed the congressional push to move up the effective date on card reform this holiday season, but it seems like that push has now faded into a pipe dream.
Congress was trying to pass a measure that would enact strict rules against a credit card rate increase during the holiday season because of fears that credit card companies would do just that before the CARD Act is fully enacted on February 22, 2010.
CNN reports that while the House of Representatives have passed a measure to do just that, Republican senators have blocked a bill that would freeze current credit card interest rates.
CNN quotes Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn) addressing his fellow senators on the floor: "The holiday season is upon us. Hard-pressed Americans want go out and do what what they can to help their families and celebrate, in a very difficult time, some joy... by taking a credit card out and making those purchases. They're watching... an industry continue to skyrocket these rates and fees on people."
His words seem to have fallen on deaf ears in the Senate. While Sen. Dodd is attempting to pass this measure, many are predicting that the Senate will not pass it because the effective date of the CARD Act is so near.
In the meantime credit card companies are hiking up their interest rates. CNN quotes the Government Accountability Office as saying, "In recent months, changes in the economy and the passage of the [new law] have led many issuers to 'reprice' their credit card accounts by altering the rates, fees, and other terms that apply to cardholders' cards."
This is not good for consumers, but since Congress is too busy with other issues, its likely that the measure to push CARD Act will likely fall flat.
At least we know whose stockings to fill with coal this Christmas.