On Your Side: Congress and Credit Cards

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March 7, 2007

Congress is taking at look at something that's driven millions of Americans deeper into debt: credit card fees.

This might bring some big changes for credit card holders.

If you've ever gotten behind on a credit card bill, you know how fast those fees can add up.

Some members of Congress say that should change, and they want to try to make that happen.

A number of consumer advocates and consumers appeared before Congress to argue that complex billing and interest rate practices are driving Americans even deeper into debt.

One man who testified says his debt grew form $3200 to nearly $11,000. A big reason for that is his account was charged over-the-limit fees 47 times, even though it only happened three times.

A credit card company spokesperson admitted to Congress that was a mistake.

One senator says a panel has discovered abusive practices in the credit card industry. Even though they are currently legal, there could be new legislation that might outlaw them.

The hope is that the banking industry will make the changes voluntarily.

Of course, if any changes are made, that may take a while.

Experts say if you are in debt now, contact a credit counselor. They can help you sort things out and get a plan to pay your debt off.

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