Not all banks offer the same credit card offers to residents across the United States. In Wisconsin, for example, state lawmakers have enacted legislation designed to protect consumers. A credit card company may choose not to offer accounts to customers in that state if it can’t or won’t change its policies to comply with the existing law.
The Credit Card Reform Act of 2009
The object of this law is to protect consumers from practices that many people would consider to be misleading or unfair. It effectively blocks credit card companies from making retroactive interest rate increases. Double-cycle billing, where a customer is charged interest twice, is also illegal under the Act.
The Credit Card Reform Act also bars credit card issuers from charging excessive fees and large penalties on their credit card accounts. This is great news for people who have credit card accounts, since a number of consumers have opened their credit card statements to find that their interest rates have been adjusted upward, even if they have always made their payments on time. Some credit card companies will do so if an account holder is late making a payment on a different credit card account. This practice is called “universal default.”
Other Changes Under the Law
Wisconsin residents also get the advantages that come with having set terms for the first year they have a new credit card account open. The banks and other issuers cannot raise rates or change terms of the credit card account during the first 12 months. If the new account is subject to an introductory interest rate, that fact must be clearly stated and the rate must be offered for a minimum of six months.
Customers must be given a reasonable time to pay their bill each month. Under the terms of the Act, this means at least 21 days after mailing the statement must be allotted for payment. Credit card issuers are barred from changing the due date from month to month or having the due date fall on a weekend.
Another way this law protects consumers is by helping them to avoid over limit fees. If a transaction will put the customer over his or her credit limit, the customer must be notified first. He or she will have the opportunity to decide whether they want to proceed and run the risk of incurring the fee.
Credit card issuers are also required to state terms and conditions for using the account in plain language. They must be informed before they choose to open an account. Once the account has been opened, any changes to the account terms must be spelled out in the same clear manner. Consumers must also be informed at regular intervals how long it will take them to pay off their credit card at the current interest rate if they only make the minimum payment on their account. The credit card company will also be required to disclose how much the account holder will need to pay each month to bring the balance down to zero in 36 months. The account holder will at least be informed about the total cost of borrowing and the time required to pay down the debt. He or she may choose to make larger payments to retire it sooner as a result.
Finding the Best Credit Card Offer in Wisconsin
Given that Wisconsin consumers enjoy a degree of protection under the law that may not be offered to those living in other parts of the United States, it’s a given that all credit card companies must operate according to the current legislation. Consumers still need to consider various options to avoid paying more than they have to in interest charges. If collecting rewards is an attractive option, the credit card customer will likely want to consider which cards give them the types of benefits that are most important to them.
Some credit cards offer cash back on purchases that can be used toward paying down the credit card account. Others offer a discount on fuel costs, which can be a very attractive option for those people who are operating a vehicle. Some people enjoy traveling and collecting air miles helps to keep costs down. They also appreciate discounts offered on accommodation and car rentals when away from home.
Not all credit cards are available in Wisconsin, but that doesn’t mean a resident of this state can’t find the right card by using our credit card Chaser tool. It’s absolutely free and you can click on it to start your search for the best credit card right away!