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Old 04-27-2009, 03:35 PM   #41
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Your premise is that the CC companies are really all about risk. I think they are all about rip-off.
My premise is that CC companies are for profit entities that try to maximize shareholder returns. They implement this through a number of means, risk management and pricing rates based on risk. I think we disagree about what to call high fees, high interest rates, and variable interest rates - you call it a rip off, I call it the price that the market will bear. If one really has a complaint about unfair or deceptive acts or practices or outright fraud, well we have a well developed system of jurisprudence to redress those wrongs.
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Old 04-27-2009, 08:34 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by armor99 View Post
A company cannot FORCE me to buy something from them, but a govt sure can....
Monopolies would do just that for any basic service . . . unless they're opposed by the power of the government.

Arguing either extreme is pointless, and kind of silly. Extreme government intervention is bad. No government intervention is anarchy (psst, that's bad too ). Just because the government is intervening in business practices doesn't mean it is extreme or even bad. One could credibly argue that the credit card practice of inducing people with a low interest rate only to raise it without notice later is very similar to the unlawful retail practice called "bait and switch". I'd wager most people are pretty comfortable with the government intervention that outlaws such deceptive retail practices.

It might help to review what the government is actually proposing to do and then someone can explain which piece of this you think is government overreach . . .

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Key provisions of the Dodd-Levin bill include:

  • Universal Default Prohibition. Prohibit credit card issuers from increasing interest rates on cardholders in good standing for reasons unrelated to the cardholder’s behavior with respect to the affected credit card.
  • No Interest on Debt Paid on Time. Prohibit interest charges on any portion of a credit card debt which the card holder paid on time during a grace period.
  • 45-Day Notice. Require 45-day notice to impose a higher interest rate.
  • Higher Interest Rates Only for Future Debt. Require higher interest rates to apply only to future credit card debt, and not to debt incurred prior to the increase.
  • No Interest on Fees. Prohibit the charging of interest on credit card transaction fees, such as late fees and over-the-limit fees.
  • Restrictions on Over-Limit Fees. Prohibit the charging of repeated over-limit fees for a single instance of exceeding a credit card limit.
  • No Pay-to-Pay Fees. Prohibit charging a fee to allow a payment on a credit card debt, whether the payment is by mail, telephone, electronic transfer, or otherwise.
  • Fair and Prompt Crediting of Card Holder Payments. Require payments to apply first to the credit card balance with the highest rate of interest, and to minimize finance charges.
  • Fixed Credit Limits. Require credit card issuers to offer consumers the option of operating under a fixed credit limit that cannot be exceeded.
  • Interest Rate Decreases. Require card issuers to lower penalty interest rates imposed on cardholders after 6 months, if no further violations occur.
  • Stopping Unfair and Deceptive Practices. Give each federal banking agency the authority to issue regulations prohibiting unfair or deceptive practices.
  • Improved Disclosures. Require credit card issuers to disclose the period of time and total interest needed to pay off a card balance if only minimum monthly payments are made, and require other enhanced disclosures.
  • Fair Billing Practices. Require credit card issuers to issue bills 25 days before the due date and accept payments postmarked one week before the due date.
  • Protections for Young Consumers from Credit Card Solicitations.
    • Require card issuers soliciting persons under the age of 21 to obtain the signature of a parent, guardian, or other individual who will co-sign for the debt; proof the applicant can independently repay the debt; or proof the applicant has completed a certified financial literacy course.
    • Prohibit credit bureaus from furnishing credit reports for consumers under age 21, unless the consumer initiates the request. Allow consumers at least 18, but not yet 21, to choose to receive card solicitations.
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Old 04-28-2009, 09:34 AM   #43
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It might help to review what the government is actually proposing to do and then someone can explain which piece of this you think is government overreach . . .
Key provisions of the Dodd-Levin bill include:

  • Universal Default Prohibition. Prohibit credit card issuers from increasing interest rates on cardholders in good standing for reasons unrelated to the cardholder’s behavior with respect to the affected credit card.
I am on board with that......
  • No Interest on Debt Paid on Time. Prohibit interest charges on any portion of a credit card debt which the card holder paid on time during a grace period.
Again, no problem, a good idea.......
  • 45-Day Notice. Require 45-day notice to impose a higher interest rate.
I would prefer 60 or 90 days, but ok........
  • Higher Interest Rates Only for Future Debt. Require higher interest rates to apply only to future credit card debt, and not to debt incurred prior to the increase.
Makes total sense, otherwise its a regressive situation, so I like it.....
  • No Interest on Fees. Prohibit the charging of interest on credit card transaction fees, such as late fees and over-the-limit fees.
CC companies make enough on the late fees, no reason to get greedy......
  • Restrictions on Over-Limit Fees. Prohibit the charging of repeated over-limit fees for a single instance of exceeding a credit card limit.
Good idea........
  • No Pay-to-Pay Fees. Prohibit charging a fee to allow a payment on a credit card debt, whether the payment is by mail, telephone, electronic transfer, or otherwise.
Time for these fees to go, with today's technology, payments are a breeze.......

Fair and Prompt Crediting of Card Holder Payments. Require payments to apply first to the credit card balance with the highest rate of interest, and to minimize finance charges.

Lukewarm on this one. Kinda nitpicky for the govt to state..........
  • Fixed Credit Limits. Require credit card issuers to offer consumers the option of operating under a fixed credit limit that cannot be exceeded.
Like this a lot. Only problem is the credit bureaus would have to play along, as they are known for whacking people's credit when the utilization ratio gets too high. Under today's rules, having $6000 charged on 3 cards with a combined credit limit of $20,000 is WAY better than $6000 charged on three cards with a fixed limit of $9000, or $3000 each........
  • Interest Rate Decreases. Require card issuers to lower penalty interest rates imposed on cardholders after 6 months, if no further violations occur.
A little nitpicky, I think 12 months is better.......
  • Stopping Unfair and Deceptive Practices. Give each federal banking agency the authority to issue regulations prohibiting unfair or deceptive practices.
No problem with this........
  • Improved Disclosures. Require credit card issuers to disclose the period of time and total interest needed to pay off a card balance if only minimum monthly payments are made, and require other enhanced disclosures.
Could of been doing this for the past 20 years..........
  • Fair Billing Practices. Require credit card issuers to issue bills 25 days before the due date and accept payments postmarked one week before the due date.
Good idea, payment acceptance other than online billpay is a tricky deal.........
  • Protections for Young Consumers from Credit Card Solicitations.
    • Require card issuers soliciting persons under the age of 21 to obtain the signature of a parent, guardian, or other individual who will co-sign for the debt; proof the applicant can independently repay the debt; or proof the applicant has completed a certified financial literacy course.
    • Prohibit credit bureaus from furnishing credit reports for consumers under age 21, unless the consumer initiates the request. Allow consumers at least 18, but not yet 21, to choose to receive card solicitations.
Don't like this, sounds too much like the 21 drinking age........
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Old 04-28-2009, 10:25 AM   #44
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Monopolies would do just that for any basic service . . . unless they're opposed by the power of the government.

Arguing either extreme is pointless, and kind of silly. Extreme government intervention is bad. No government intervention is anarchy (psst, that's bad too ). Just because the government is intervening in business practices doesn't mean it is extreme or even bad. One could credibly argue that the credit card practice of inducing people with a low interest rate only to raise it without notice later is very similar to the unlawful retail practice called "bait and switch". I'd wager most people are pretty comfortable with the government intervention that outlaws such deceptive retail practices.
Ok.... agreed... You and I are probably not arguing on points that are too dissimiliar here. In my mind the perfect govt is the smallest one you can get away with... without anarchy. I do conceed that many of the regulations seem reasonable and prudent. The only thing I worry about is this may tend to push smaller credit card companies out of business. May no longer be worth it to some companies to stay in the game. Credit card companies may also decide to start charging yearly fees for their cards now, which is perfect legal for them to do. The cards I have at present have no fees.

In truth... if everyone used credit cards like I do... the companies would go out of business. I pay off my bills every month, and there are no yearly fees. So the credit cards make no money off of me directly.
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Old 04-28-2009, 12:35 PM   #45
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The only thing I worry about is this may tend to push smaller credit card companies out of business. May no longer be worth it to some companies to stay in the game. Credit card companies may also decide to start charging yearly fees for their cards now, which is perfect legal for them to do. The cards I have at present have no fees.
Smaller credit card companies! You mean like Discover? If there ever was a poster child antitrust case for group oligopoly, credit card companies would be high on the list. The point of mentioning "monopolies", I suspect, but I could be wrong, is that there is no effective competition in the credit card industry when it comes to many standard terms like universal defaults, notices, arbitration, grace periods, interest on interest, etc. The only effective areas of competition in this industry dominated by a few players are annual fees, rates, and "affinity" rewards -- and that's more a function of branding than competition.

Credit card companies don't just make money from annual fees or interest charged on payments. They also make money off of people who use their credit card as a "charge card" like you, i.e. just paying the monthly balance off every month without incurring interest charges on the "revolving credit." The credit card companies charge merchants transactional fees for credit card purchases. And there are a few "charge card" companies that have survived many, many years, and they like you to think you can't go home without one of their charge cards.
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Old 04-28-2009, 12:52 PM   #46
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...provisions of the Dodd-Levin bill include:
  • Protections for Young Consumers from Credit Card Solicitations.
    • Require card issuers soliciting persons under the age of 21 to obtain the signature of a parent, guardian, or other individual who will co-sign for the debt; proof the applicant can independently repay the debt; or proof the applicant has completed a certified financial literacy course.
    • Prohibit credit bureaus from furnishing credit reports for consumers under age 21, unless the consumer initiates the request. Allow consumers at least 18, but not yet 21, to choose to receive card solicitations.
Don't like this, sounds too much like the 21 drinking age........
Thanks for the outline of the provisions, folks.
If I can assume the absence of a co-signer will prevent those under age 21 from racking up a mountain of debt and then "walking" under Rights of Minors laws, I'm all for this one. NY's age of emancipation is 21.
I have a personal interest in this one - dh2b has a minor son (17) and the boy has no clue of what money is all about except he whines and the ex merrily spends no matter what the price of the lollipop.
The good news is it does not affect our budget.
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Old 04-28-2009, 01:33 PM   #47
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Smaller credit card companies! You mean like Discover? If there ever was a poster child antitrust case for group oligopoly, credit card companies would be high on the list. The point of mentioning "monopolies", I suspect, but I could be wrong, is that there is no effective competition in the credit card industry when it comes to many standard terms like universal defaults, notices, arbitration, grace periods, interest on interest, etc. The only effective areas of competition in this industry dominated by a few players are annual fees, rates, and "affinity" rewards -- and that's more a function of branding than competition.
I'm pondering getting rid of my Discover card. While I like the rewards, more and more businesses are NOT taking it anymore, because they charge too high a transaction fee for the merchant.......

There are less "small" card companies all the time. Consolidation has been rampant. Pretty much all CC companies suck, some to a larger extent than others.

I am all for capitalism and free enterprise, but some business models need to be slapped around from time to time.......
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Old 04-28-2009, 06:41 PM   #48
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Credit card companies may also decide to start charging yearly fees for their cards now, which is perfect legal for them to do. The cards I have at present have no fees.
Yeah, I thought about this as a potential "downside". After all, my credit card company pays me to use it, to the tune of several hundred dollars per year. It's a pretty sweet deal for me. I get the convenience of the card, plus some pocket change too. I suspect that might change if new rules make it harder for card companies to earn extra revenue.

But on the flip side, if the benefits I'm getting from using my card are only available because some other poor sap is getting taken advantage of, then I'm OK paying full freight in exchange for having a more honest "market".
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Old 04-28-2009, 07:31 PM   #49
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Key provisions of the Dodd-Levin bill include:


Fair and Prompt Crediting of Card Holder Payments. Require payments to apply first to the credit card balance with the highest rate of interest, and to minimize finance charges.


Lukewarm on this one. Kinda nitpicky for the govt to state..........
Actually this one is super important. Imagine Joe consumer takes advantage of 12 months 0% interest offer to buy a computer/big screen TV at Best Buy and signs up for store credit card. He dutifully makes the minimum payment each month and then 5 months later buys an iPhone. Joe had planned to buy the iPhone with cash, but he is informed by the sale person there is a extra $10 off if he use his Best Buy card so he does. Heeding dads advice he fully pays off his iPhone the next month. Only to discover that because payments go to the lowest interest balance first, he is on the hook for 20% interest on the iPhone until he pays off the entire credit card balance. Meaning the $10 off for using the card is actually going to cost $50 in interest payments, and oh by the way. The $10 off offer only was presented to Joe because Best Buy knew he had a 0% balance.
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Old 04-29-2009, 07:41 AM   #50
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My premise is that CC companies are for profit entities that try to maximize shareholder returns. They implement this through a number of means, risk management and pricing rates based on risk. I think we disagree about what to call high fees, high interest rates, and variable interest rates - you call it a rip off, I call it the price that the market will bear. If one really has a complaint about unfair or deceptive acts or practices or outright fraud, well we have a well developed system of jurisprudence to redress those wrongs.
I don't substantially disagree with your underlying concerns or Armor's. But I don't see the fees in question as "what the market will bear." They are a tricky "gotcha." The market will bear reasonable rates and the buyers love some of the el-cheapo rates that are advertised. Unjustified jumps on existing credit are not part of the what people think they are bargaining for. I guess I would amend that to add that some subset of borrowers don't give a hoot about what the rates are -- just give me the dough. I don't think it makes sense for our society to legalize the abuse of those poor souls anymore than we legalize loan sharking -- it too is what the market will bear.
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Old 04-29-2009, 09:50 AM   #51
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I don't substantially disagree with your underlying concerns or Armor's. But I don't see the fees in question as "what the market will bear." They are a tricky "gotcha." The market will bear reasonable rates and the buyers love some of the el-cheapo rates that are advertised. Unjustified jumps on existing credit are not part of the what people think they are bargaining for. I guess I would amend that to add that some subset of borrowers don't give a hoot about what the rates are -- just give me the dough. I don't think it makes sense for our society to legalize the abuse of those poor souls anymore than we legalize loan sharking -- it too is what the market will bear.
Well, all the "fine print" terms and conditions can't be advertised right along side the APR. Some of the fine print terms can be. And I think some companies have moved to advertise their more lenient fee structures/penalties. For example, I recall seeing one card with "first time late payment: fee is waived as long as you have paid on time within last 12 months" or something like that. Another example is "promotional interest rates do not disappear if you are late just once" (but after the second late payment we are going to nail your a$$ to the wall ). And these are things being advertised to me. One of those may have been for a business card product and not a consumer product, I just can't recall exactly right now.

Point is, there IS some competition among the fine print details. And for the most part, all of the "ridiculous" fees are disclosed in the Black Box that contains all key terms of the CC agreement and disclosure. I'm talking APRs, late fees, over limit fees, annual fees, finance charge and grace period calcs, etc. Something that an educated person could read in a few minutes.

In regards to your comment "some subset of borrowers don't give a hoot about what the rates are -- just give me the dough" - how do we structure an economic system to accommodate these people without penalizing every other rational member of our society? I think those with very low IQ's are protected by the legal defense that they are mentally deficient that they did not have capacity to contract. But what about those that are left? Do we need an intelligence test or a financial license (like a driver's license) before one is allowed to contract with a CC company for provision of credit?

Following a few rules will solve many problems. Do your due diligence. There is no such thing as a free lunch. If it is too good to be true then it probably is. If you don't understand something, don't agree to it (or buy it).
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Old 04-29-2009, 10:52 AM   #52
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A company cannot FORCE me to buy something from them, but a govt sure can....
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Originally Posted by . . . Yrs to Go View Post
Monopolies would do just that for any basic service . . . unless they're opposed by the power of the government.
Pretty much all of the monopolies in recent history have been protected by government.

AT&T: eventually broken up
Utilities: in certain areas, there is only 1 supplier by rule
Postal service: monopoly on certain services
Professional Baseball: has an anti-trust exemption
Joint Commission: monopoly over whether or not US hospitals are able to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs
Torture: (just kidding)
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Old 04-29-2009, 11:03 AM   #53
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AT&T: eventually broken up
Pretty much back together again.......

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Utilities: in certain areas, there is only 1 supplier by rule
Economies of scale dictate that it will stay that way....

Quote:
Postal service: monopoly on certain services
Yeah, the USPS is run about as well and Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.........
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Old 04-29-2009, 11:03 AM   #54
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Smaller credit card companies! You mean like Discover? If there ever was a poster child antitrust case for group oligopoly, credit card companies would be high on the list. The point of mentioning "monopolies", I suspect, but I could be wrong, is that there is no effective competition in the credit card industry when it comes to many standard terms like universal defaults, notices, arbitration, grace periods, interest on interest, etc. The only effective areas of competition in this industry dominated by a few players are annual fees, rates, and "affinity" rewards -- and that's more a function of branding than competition.

Credit card companies don't just make money from annual fees or interest charged on payments. They also make money off of people who use their credit card as a "charge card" like you, i.e. just paying the monthly balance off every month without incurring interest charges on the "revolving credit." The credit card companies charge merchants transactional fees for credit card purchases. And there are a few "charge card" companies that have survived many, many years, and they like you to think you can't go home without one of their charge cards.
You will have to forgive me.... I am not feeble minded as you believe most people are. I have never been in re-volving debt... nor do I intend to. I am also not responsible for every mistake someone else makes because of their poor judgement. I do not believe that I should be penalized for others mistakes either.

I see it this way. I pay off my credit card every month in full. I incur no debt, nor do I even care what the late charges may be. I pay no monthly fee for my cards, and as it currently sits, I am happy with the arrangement between me and the credit cards companies I use.

Now there are lots of people getting into credit debt problems. So much so that the govt feels the need to step in and regulate the credit card companies for the "common good". Not actually stop the irresponsible behavior of the credit card holders... apparently they are judged not smart enought to change, and are given a "pass" on their actions.

So to recoup some of their lost revenue, the credit card companies now decide to charge yearly fees on their cards. So now... I have to pay a yearly fee, due largely to the irresponsible behavior of other people. Once again... a case of the responsible paying for the irresponsible... and I despise that....
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Old 04-29-2009, 11:44 AM   #55
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Pretty much back together again.......

Economies of scale dictate that it will stay that way....

Yeah, the USPS is run about as well and Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.........
I forgot to include this bit about the US lagging behind Japan in internet speed and price because of government protected monopolies. Wrong turn in the Net's future - CNET News
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Old 04-29-2009, 11:56 AM   #56
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With all of the credit card companies losing money due to higher loss rates, these further restrictions will probably tighten even further the amount of credit being offered by these companies. It's like raising taxes in a recession... bad timing.
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Old 04-29-2009, 12:00 PM   #57
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With all of the credit card companies losing money due to higher loss rates, these further restrictions will probably tighten even further the amount of credit being offered by these companies. It's like raising taxes in a recession... bad timing.
I shed not one tear for their plight. Offering unsecured lines of credit means you need to factor in what default rate they can reasonable expect. When I hear those companies crying because their default rate rose from around 4% to 6%, big whoop. I think their business model is screwed up if 94% of their customers pay, yet they still complain......
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Old 04-29-2009, 12:15 PM   #58
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With all of the credit card companies losing money due to higher loss rates, these further restrictions will probably tighten even further the amount of credit being offered by these companies. It's like raising taxes in a recession... bad timing.
I can't wait for this to happen and then the TARPers to come out and complain about banks reducing access to credit. At this time of great need. After all the taxpayers have done for the banks. Blah blah blah.
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Old 04-29-2009, 12:29 PM   #59
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I can't wait for this to happen and then the TARPers to come out and complain about banks reducing access to credit. At this time of great need. After all the taxpayers have done for the banks. Blah blah blah.
Are banks still lending these days, or just using the TARP money to show profits to the Fed?
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Old 04-29-2009, 12:40 PM   #60
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Are banks still lending these days, or just using the TARP money to show profits to the Fed?
My credit cards still work. We recently opened up another 4-5 credit cards in the last month or two. Friends are refi-ing their houses successfully without any hitches. But please note that we all have jobs, assets, good credit, etc. Marginal quality borrowers: YMMV.
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