Credit Card Offers for Pet Lovers

I love our dog. Her name is Sophie, and that’s her picture above. One thing we’ve learned the hard way over the past two years, however, is just how expensive a pet can be.

Regular trips to the vet can quickly put a dent in our bank accounts, not to mention the unforeseen costs that can take place if an emergency occurs. If you’re like my mom and have more than one furry friend, then your costs can double or even triple before you know it. She has two dogs and is temporarily fostering a third. Just over the last week an unplanned trip to the vet cost her $400. One option that I have recently found that can make these costs a bit more manageable is Care Credit.

Care Credit is a personal line of credit that can be used for your pet care and your health care expenses. It works just like a credit card, but can only be used for health care services. The great thing is that it can be used for all members of the family, even the four legged ones.

The card offers a no interest option on every purchase you make. All you have to do is pay your minimum monthly payment and pay off the balance by the end of the promotional period. Not all health care providers take Care Credit, however, so be sure to check first.

Below are the two interest options Care Credit offers its card members. The no interest option is a deferred interest plan, which means the accumulating interest will be charged to you if you don’t pay the balance off in the agreed upon time frame or if you are late on the monthly minimum payment.

Important: Because terms and conditions can and do change frequently, be sure to check with Care Credit before applying for a card.

No Interest Option

The Care Credit Card offers no interest on your purchases if paid within 3, 6, 12, 18 or 24 months. A $300 minimum purchase amount is required for plans longer than 3 months on the CareCredit account. A monthly payment is required, but no Finance Charges will be assessed if you meet the following restrictions: On promo purchase balance, monthly payments required, but no Finance Charges will be assessed if (1) promo purchase balance paid in full in 3, 6, 12, 18 or 24 months, (2) all minimum monthly payments on account paid when due, and (3) account balance does not exceed credit limit. Otherwise, the promo may be terminated & Finance Charges assessed from purchase date.

On promotions requiring a minimum payment, payments over the minimum will usually be applied to those promo balances before non-promo and other balances. If you have a non-promo balance, this may reduce the benefit from the promo.

Extended Payment Plans

This option is valid on purchases of $1000 or more (24, 36, 48 months) or $2500 or more (60 months) made on the CareCredit account. On promo purchase, fixed monthly payments equal to 4.7966% for 24 months, 3.4129% for 36 months, 2.7276% for 48 months, or 2.3216% for 60 months required, but finance charges will be applied to promo balance at the reduced daily periodic rate of .03808% (ANNUAL PERCENTAGE RATE 13.90%) if (1) promo purchase paid in full in 24, 36, 48 or 60 months, (2) any minimum monthly payments on account paid when due, and (3) account balance does not exceed credit limit. Otherwise, promo may be terminated.

Bottom Line

I have read both favorable and unfavorable reviews on Care Credit. All the unfavorable reviews stem from the deferred interest part of the card. It is important to understand that in this case the No Interest option is a deferred interest rate. This means that if you don’t pay the balance off in the required amount of time, then the accumulated interest will be added to the balance of your card. In the event that this happens, it could add hundreds of dollars onto your balance.

There are several very good interest free cards that may make a good alternative to Care Credit.


Shop Online With a Disposable Credit Card

Discover Card has introduced a feature aimed at virtually guaranteeing your credit card number is secure when you shop online. Called “Secure Online Account Numbers,” Discover enables cardholders to create a disposable credit card number to be used at just one retailer online. Once assigned to a retailer, the card number will not work anywhere else. So if the number is stolen, it won’t do the thief any good.

Discover credit card holders will find the feature at the bottom left of the Discover home page. The links is called “Secure Online Account Number.” It gives cardholders two ways to use this feature. First, software can be downloaded to a PC or Mac. The software will generate the secure online account number to be used for shopping. Second, cardholders can set up a secure account number via the Internet from any computer.

Discover Secure Online Account Numbers

Each secure online account number can only be used at the online retailer where it was first assigned. As a result, if the number is stolen, it can’t be used anywhere else. And because it’s not the actual Discover card number, the cardholder’s account number is never at risk of loss.

There are some instances when you should use your actual card number. With some online purchases, you must show your actual card when you pick up your merchandise. For example, you should probably use your actual card number when buying airline or theater tickets. In both cases, you may have to show your actual card when you check in to get your tickets.

Another thing to keep in mind is that these online account numbers will expire when your actual card expires. As a result, when you get your new card, you’ll need to generate new online numbers as well. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen but once every few years.


7 Reasons Every College Student Should Carry a Credit Card

With the schools season in full swing there is no better time than the present for college students to make sure their financial life is in order. A student credit card can be an important financial tool as college students plan for their future. Of course, like all credit, student credit cards should be used responsibly. But with proper use, a credit card has many benefits for university life.

With that in mind, here are seven of the top reasons every college student should carry a card.

  1. Build Credit: Responsible use of a credit card can help build your credit history and credit score. It is important to begin building a credit history early, as it is one factor that goes into your credit score. This will become very important after college when you go to buy a home.
  2. Emergencies: Like it or not, emergencies are a part of life. A credit card can cover an emergency situation, particularly for college students attending school far from home.
  3. Convenience: If parents are providing some level of financial support, a credit card is a convenient way to do it. The bill can be sent back home each month and even paid online.
  4. 0% APR Offers: There are many great student credit cards offers that come with a 0% APR introductory rate on purchases. The Citi® Dividend Platinum Select® Card for College Students, for example, offers 0% APR introductory interest rate on purchases for 7 months. An offer like this is ideal for a large purchase that might require some additional time to pay off.
  5. Teach Responsibility: Use of a credit card can teach you how to be responsible with credit and their money. Particularly if monitored by parents, a credit card is often the first major financial responsibility for young adults.
  6. Discount on Gas: With the price of gas skyrocketing, any discounts on gas are particularly valuable to college students.
  7. Shop Online: While there are alternatives to using a credit card, they offer the easiest way to shop online. And shopping online is important because it is convenient and a great way to save money.

Using Credit Cards to Fund a Business Start Up

Using credit cards to start a business is nothing new. In fact, I’ve got a friend who is using a 0% balance transfer business card to fund a product based business he’s just started. When all is said and done, he’ll be in credit card debt of more than $30,000. Now in his case, he has the means to pay off the credit card even if the business fails. But as reported this week in the Washington Post, some small businesses are starting to drown in credit card debt.

So in this article we’ll look first at why people are turning to credit cards to finance their businesses. As it turns out, credit cards do offer a number of benefits to small business. Then we’ll look at how to reduce some of the risks of credit card financing.

The Rewards of Credit Cards for Small Businesses

There are four basic reasons many entrepreneurs turn to credit cards to finance a small start-up.

First, accessing cash through credit cards is easy and convenient. You can now apply for credit cards online in a matter of minutes. And if you have solid credit history, you can easily qualify for tens of thousands of dollars in credit.

Second, many credit cards come with 0% introductory rate offers on both purchases and balance transfers. These offers enable new companies to finance start up costs without paying interest. With some cards, you can get a 0% interest rate for up to 21 months.

Third, business and personal cards come with many rewards and cash back offers. It’s not at all uncommon to find cards with cash back offers on gas, office supplies, and computer purchases. These cash back offers can go a long way for a new company.

Finally, other means for raising capital have become harder to access. With the credit crunch we’ve experienced over the last year, it has become harder and more time consuming to obtain home equity lines of credit or small business loans. As a result, more and more business owners are turning to credit cards to get them through a cash flow crisis.

Avoiding the Pitfalls of Credit Card Financing

The ease of obtaining cash via credit cards also presents the biggest risk. More and more business owners are getting in over their heads as their credit card debt increases. So what are some of the ways you can reduce the risk that this will happen to you? Here are a few suggestions:

First, don’t spend more money just because you are putting it on a credit card. Study after study shows that we tend to spend more money when we use credit cards than when we pay with cash. If you’re using credit, ask yourself if you’d still make the purchase if you were paying with cash.

Second, make business decisions independent of your source of financing. Some folks tend to take bigger, unjustified risks if they aren’t using their own money. While the credit card company may be funding your business at the start, you’ll eventually be paying the tab one way or another.

Third, budget, budget, budget. Budgets are important for personal finance, but they are absolutely critical for a business. Set out your budget before you starting spending money and raking up credit card debt.

Finally, don’t get carried away with credit card rewards. Sure the cash back offers and discounts are nice, but they should never be the motivation behind the purchase.

Business and other credit card offers can be a great way to finance a new company, so long as care is taken not to over extend yourself.


7 Secret Perks of Prepaid Credit Cards

It wasn’t long ago that prepaid credit cards were viewed as an expensive alternative for those who couldn’t get a credit card or open a bank account. A lot has happened over the past few years to change this perception. In fact, today, prepaid credit cards come with many advantages you won’t find with credit cards or banks.

Some of the key benefits can be found in what prepaid cards don’t come with: interest charges, over the limit penalties, late payment penalties, or overdraft fees. But as the prepaid card market has grown, cards have added more advantages that many people don’t know about. Here are 7 of the more significant perks you can get with a prepaid card:

  1. Low Fees: While prepaid cards at one time were very expenses, today you can find several free prepaid credit cards. These cards come with no activation fee, no transaction fee, and even no monthly fee in some cases. The key is to understand how you will use the card and to avoid costly mistakes. For example, will you make a lot of ATM withdrawals, or will you mostly use the card at retail locations? Knowing the difference up front can help you pick a card that offers low fees for the types of transactions you plan to make.
  2. Rewards: While rewards use to be tied only travel or some of the best cash back credit cards, today several prepaid and debit cards offer various rewards. The PerkStreet debit card, for example, offers up to 5% cash back. And several prepaid cards offer bonuses if you load the card with direct deposit.
  3. High Interest Savings Accounts: Oddly enough, the best high interest savings accounts come from prepaid cards, not banks. For example, the Mango prepaid MasterCard offers an FDIC insured savings account that currently pays 5.1%, well above anything you could get from a bank. Netspend, another popular prepaid card also comes with a high interest account option. There are some limitations. For example, there is a limit on how much you can deposit and you must sign up for direct deposit. But the interest rate is exceptional.
  4. Free ATM Withdrawals: While most prepaid cards do charge for ATM withdrawals, both the Green Dot and NetSpend prepaid cards have a large network of ATMs where you can withdrawal cash from your card for free. It’s generally better to simply get extra cash back from a retailer when you make a purchase, because they don’t charge fees. But if you plan to use the ATM to get cash frequently, make sure to get a card with no ATM Fees.
  5. Online Bill Pay: Several cards offer online bill pay, much like you’d see from an online bank. Perhaps the best known offer comes from AccountNow, which offers the service for free. The Rushcard also offers online bill pay, but for a small fee. With these cards, many people manage their money very effectively without a bank account. And if you are part of the Chexsystems and can’t qualify for a checking account, these prepaid cards are a convenient, low cost alternative.
  6. Check Writing: For those cards that offer online bill pay, you can also have them write a check for you to pay bills to creditors who do not accept online payments. You simply enter the information online with the prepaid card company, and they do the rest.
  7. Direct Deposit: Finally, almost all prepaid cards offer direct deposit of paychecks and government benefit checks. With direct deposit, you don’t have to pay for expensive check cashing services, and you get access to your money immediately.

The Third Phase of the CARD Act is On Its Way

The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act (Credit Card Act of 2009) was signed into law by President Barack Obama on May 22, 2009 and is meant to protect consumers from financial industry practices which have historically lacked transparency and were not consumer friendly. It is hoped that the Credit Card Act of 2009 will help make credit card terms easier to understand.  Congress’ mandate ordered that the provisions of the Credit Card Act of 2009 be implemented in three distinct phases. The first phase went into effect in the summer of 2009, the second phase in February of 2010 and the third phase is expected to be implemented on August 22, 2010.  The Federal Reserve Board, in cooperation with other regulatory agencies, is required to develop rules that describe how the law will work in “real life.”

Under the first phase of the Credit Card Act of 2009, implemented in the summer of 2009, credit card issuers were required to provide customers with 45 days written notice before they make any significant changes to the consumer’s contract and must mail bills 21 days before the due date (previously, issuers were required to give 30-days notice before changing a contract and mail bills at least 14 days in advance). Consumers were also given the right to reject changes to their contracts, including interest rate increases, and given the option of paying off their credit card balances within five years using the existing rate.

The second phase went into effect in February of 2010.  One of the major provisions of this phase was that card issuers can only raise interest rates on existing balances if:

  • The consumer is 60 days or more past due
  • A promotional rate expired
  • The consumer does not complete a workout plan
  • A variable rate increased because of movement in an index

Further, if the rate hike experienced by a consumer is the result of a late payment, the credit card issuer must reinstate the lower rate after the consumer makes on-time payments for six months.  Additionally, young people must be at least 21 years old or get an adult to co-sign a credit card application with them if they want their own credit card.

The third and final phase of the Credit Card Act of 2009 will take effect in August of 2010. The proposed rules amend Regulation Z (The Truth in Lending) to protect consumers from unreasonable penalty fees and to require credit card issuers to reconsider increases in interest rates. The new rules are as follows:

  • Reasonable Penalty Fees – The penalty fee for late charges or violating another account terms has been capped at $25 unless the consumer has engaged in repeated violations or the credit card company can show that the cost it incurred as a result of one’s late payments justified a higher fee. Additionally, the late payment fee, if any, levied on the consumer’s account cannot be higher than the consumer’s violation. For example, previously, a consumer who had been late making a $20 minimum payment could have been charged a $39 penalty fee.  The third phase states that penalty fees cannot exceed the dollar amount of the consumer’s violation.
  • Additional Fee Protections – The credit card companies can no longer charge inactivity fees because the account is not being used nor can the credit card company levy multiple fees for a single event or transaction that violates the cardholder agreement. For example, if you are late making a payment, you can only be charged one single late fee.  Today, you can be charged over and over again for the same violation.
  • Explanation of Rate Increase – If the credit card company increases the annual percentage rate (APR), it must explain why.  Today, no such explanation is required.
  • Re-evaluation of Recent Rate Increases – If a consumer’s APR was increased after January 1, 2009, the card company must re-evaluate such increase every six months and if appropriate, reduce the rate within 45 days of the evaluation.  Today, credit card companies can increase the APR with no obligation to reevaluate the rate increase.

The following web page was released by the Federal Reserve Board to clarify the final set of provisions: What You Need to Know: New Credit Card Rules Effective Aug. 22 so if you need further clarification, you should look them up.

Consumer advocates for the most part favor the Credit Card Act of 2009.  According to the Pew Charitable Trust, consumers will save at least $10 billion a year from curbs on interest rate increases alone. Unfortunately, the credit card companies have had several months in-between phases to prepare while certain rules were clarified by the Federal Reserve. During this time they have hiked interest rates, reinstated annual fees, and moved more consumers into variable rate cards (card companies are not required to give customers 45 days notice when rates are increased on variable cards, only fixed cards).  Finding credit cards with great cash back offers or low interest rates will be much more difficult.

The third phase has addressed some of these “back-handed” new procedures implemented by the card companies. Consumers now have the comfort of knowing that late payments and other penalty fees must be assessed in a way that is fairer and generally less costly. However, there are exceptions for those who are chronically late making payments and such customers could still face higher fees as card companies are allowed to increase penalty fees if they represent a “reasonable proportion” of the costs it takes to clear up account violations.  The $25 cap on late payment fees appears, in general, to be a good thing for consumers, as in the past there has been no industry standard on these fees. The ban on penalty fees above the dollar amount of the consumer’s violation will also result in savings for those consumers who incur a penalty for a small dollar violation.

The new rules also benefit those consumers who pay off their card balances, yet want to keep their accounts open, by banning card companies from charging inactivity fees; such fees are widespread and generate a great deal of revenue for card companies. Accordingly, one can pay off his/her balance without being “punished” by the card company.

Finally, an important measure of the third phase is that the Fed is requiring card issuers to reexamine rate hikes that have been imposed since Jan. 1, 2009, reconsider the reasons for the increases, and “if appropriate, reduce the rate.” This certainly benefits a consumer whose credit was damaged after January 1, 2009, yet has either rebuilt their credit or rectified the problem. A consumer will not be forced to pay for a mistake, through higher rates, that has been fixed or was not meant to be there in the first place.

There is no doubt that the Credit Card Act of 2009 coupled with the economic recession made it quite possible that credit card companies will experience a severe decline in revenue.  Accordingly, the credit card companies feel it necessary to make up revenues in other areas and will continue to find “loopholes” to the new laws. The act does not, unfortunately, protect card users from everything.  Although some consumers and card issuers feel that the impact will be to increase rates and limit the availability of credit, the Credit Card Act of 2009 does represent the most sweeping credit card reform legislation that Americans have ever seen. Its implementation, will for the most part, be considered a victory for Americans if they continue to read the fine print and stay abreast of the laws and their rights.


How to Apply Online for a Credit Card

The Internet has made applying for a credit card quick and easy. Not only has the Internet made online applications a reality, but it also has made finding, reviewing and comparing credit card offers a snap.

While it may at first seem complicated to apply online for a card, it’s really simple. We’ll walk you through the process here, which only takes a couple of minutes. An online credit card application involves just three steps:

1. Compare, review and pick the card you want
2. Visit the card’s secure online application page
3. Fill out the online form to submit your application

Let’s take a look at each of these steps.

Step 1: Compare, review and pick the card you want

The first step is to choose a credit card. We’ve made that task easier by organizing credit card offers by category. In the left sidebar you’ll see five primary categories of credit cards: (1) low interest rate cards, (2) rewards cards, (3) cards by credit history, (4) cards by type, and (5) cards by issuer. These card offers include credit cards from major issuers such as Citi, Discover, Chase, and American Express.

On each page you’ll find the information you need to choose a credit card. This information includes the card’s interest rate, any 0% introductory offers, and details on any rewards offered by the card. Once you’ve chosen a card, it’s time to move to step two.

Step 2: Visit the card’s secure online application page

With each credit card offer you’ll find here at Credit Card Offers IQ, you’ll see a green or orange apply button. Pressing this button will take you to that card’s official online application page. It’s important to note that you’ll never be asked for confidential information here at Credit Card Offers IQ. All of your application information will be provided directly to the credit card company on their secure website.

Step 3: Fill out the online form to submit your application

Once you’ve chosen the card you want and gone to the card’s online application, it’s a snap to apply online for the card. By federal law, credit card companies must collect certain basic, identifying information. This information includes your name, address, date of birth, and social security number. You will also be asked about your occupation and income, and whether you have any bank accounts.

If you are applying for a card with a 0% balance transfer option, you may also be asked about the balances you wish to transfer. And if you want to add other authorized users, you will be asked for their name.

Once you’ve submitted your application, you should receive a confirmation e-mail from the credit card company stating that your application has been received. For some cards, you can actually get the results of your application in about 60 seconds. Called instant approval cards, you can check out our list of instant approval credit cards that we update daily.


3 Ways a Credit Card Can Protect Your Next Purchase

Some benefits of using a credit card are obvious. For example, some use credit cards to take advantage of 0% offers, cash back rewards, or miles. But there are some additional perks to using a credit card that aren’t as well known. One of those perks is purchase protection
Purchase protection offers you additional assurance that the product you are about to buy is protected from certain types of losses. Whiles these protections vary from one credit card to another, purchase protections usually come in three flavors:

  • Protection for purchases
  • Warranty extensions
  • Protection for returned items

Let’s take a look at each of these benefts.

Protection for Purchases

Protection for purchases cover merchandise that has been damaged or found to be defective. In some cases, the protection also covers you if the item you purchased becomes available for less than you paid. These protections usually lasts 90 days from the date of purchase. Depending on the card, there may be a minimum monetary requirement to qualify for a refund.

Examples from several popular credit cards:

American Express

  • Embedded Protection: Use your Card and Purchase Protection protects eligible purchases against accidental damage or theft for up to 90 days from the date of purchase.
  • Worldwide Coverage: Coverage includes eligible purchases made worldwide with the Card, including gifts purchased for others.
  • Shop Worry Free: Purchase Protection repairs, replaces or reimburses you for up to the amount charged to the Card.

Citi Diamond Preferred Card

  • Price Protection: If you buy something with your Citi card and then see it advertised in print for less within 60 days, you will receive a refund for the difference up to $250.
  • Retail Purchase Protection: Most items purchased with your card are eligible for protection against accidental damage or theft for up to 90 days from the date of purchase.

Warranty Extensions

Many credit cards extend the terms of any original manufacturer’s warranty, which is typically an additional year added to the warranty. Some credit card companies, however, will not extend the warranty if you haven’t registered your product.

Examples from several popular credit cards:

MasterCard

  • Extended Warranty: Doubles the original manufacturer’s or store brand warranty for up to one year when you pay with your eligible MasterCard card.
  • Satisfaction Guarantee: If you become dissatisfied with a product you purchase using your eligible MasterCard card within 60 days of purchase, and the store will not accept a return, you may be eligible for a refund for the cost of the product up to $250.

American Express

  • Embedded Protection: Charge your covered purchases that have a valid U.S. manufacturer’s warranty of 5 years or less to the Card.
  • Extend Your Warranty: Charge your covered purchases that have a valid U.S. manufacturer’s warranty of 5 years or less to the Card.

Protection for Returned Items

These features guarantee customer satisfaction on covered items charged to a card. If a card holder tries to return an item and the manufacturer or vendor won’t take it back within the allotted time, the card holder will receive a refund from the credit card issuer.

Examples from several popular credit cards:

American Express:

  • 90 days of Protection: If you try to return an eligible item purchased in the U.S. within 90 days from the date of purchase and the merchant won’t take it back, American Express will refund the purchase price.
  • Up to $300 Coverage: You are covered for up to $300 per item, excluding shipping and handling, up to $1,000 annually per Card account.

MasterCard

  • Satisfaction Guarantee: If you become dissatisfied with a product you purchase using your eligible MasterCard card within 60 days of purchase, and the store will not accept a return, you may be eligible for a refund for the cost of the product up to $250

American DreamCard Review

American DreamCard™ MasterCard®

The American DreamCard is a rewards credit card issued by HSBC. The card is perhaps best known for the large monthly jackpots it awards to card holders every month. Here are the American DreamCard’s key features:

  • Over $1.1 Million Awarded to Date!
  • Large monthly cash jackpots
  • Earn entries from everyday shopping
  • Get 1,000 entries just for applying!
  • A New Winner Every Month!
  • Refer your friends and automatically receive 50 entries for each referral and get a signing bonus of 1,000 entries for each referral who is approved for the American DreamCard™
  • See terms and conditions for important rate, fee, and other cost information, and limitations

    Apply Now!

American DreamCard Sweepstakes

for every $1.00 you spend up to 1,000 entries per qualifying transaction, you get a sweepstakes entry to win the monthly American DreamCard sweepstakes jackpot. Now the American DreamCard is NOT a lottery; it is a MasterCard so there is no need to stand in line, buy tickets or pick numbers, simply use your credit card for everyday purchases and you could win!

Here’s how it works:

  1. Hit the Jackpot! – Every net $1 you spend on your American DreamCard credit card gives you an entry, up to 1,000 entries per qualifying transaction to win the monthly American DreamCard Sweepstakes Jackpot!*
  2. Receive 1,000 Sweepstakes Entries just for Applying!
  3. Tell your friends and family and earn extra sweepstakes entries! For every referral you provide to www.americandreamcard.com you will receive 50 sweepstakes entries and for those referrals who apply for the American DreamCard credit card and becomes a cardholder, you will receive a signing bonus of 1,000 sweepstakes entries for the next sweepstakes jackpot drawing!*
  4. Entries Grow! – Sweepstakes entries are good for all drawings for the current sweepstakes!

Other Features

The American DreamCard is a variable interest card with rates ranging from 14.99% to 21.99%. The annual fee for the card is $0, $39, or $59 depending on credit worthiness.

If you’d like more information about the American DreamCard or to apply online, visit www.americandreamcard.com.


Fed Moves to Limit Credit Card Fees

Earlier this month the Fed proposed the third and final set of credit card rules as required by the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009. The new proposal is designed to protect credit card users from unreasonable late payment and other penalty fees and to require credit card issuers to reconsider increases in interest rates. The rules go into effect August 22, 2010.

According to the Fed, the rules would limit the fees credit card companies could charge consumers. Specifically, the rules would:

  • Prohibit credit card issuers from charging penalty fees (including late payment fees and fees for exceeding the credit limit) that exceed the dollar amount associated with the consumer’s violation of the account terms. For example, card issuers would no longer be permitted to charge a $39 fee when a consumer is late making a $20 minimum payment. Instead, the fee could not exceed $20.
  • Ban inactivity fees, such as fees based on the consumer’s failure to use the account to make new purchases.
  • Prevent issuers from charging multiple penalty fees based on a single late payment or other violation of the account terms.
  • Require credit card issuers to inform consumers of the reasons for increases in rates.
  • Require issuers that have increased rates since January 1, 2009 to evaluate whether the reasons for the increase have changed and, if appropriate, to reduce the rate.

While the rules are no doubt well intended, they will do little for consumers. Credit card companies will be able to skirt these regulations in a multitude of ways. The folks over at Master Your Card prepared a good analysis of these new rules that is worth reading.

While the rules may help some consumers in some situations, they underscore one very important fact when it comes to credit cards–you must control how you use credit cards and manage your money.