On January 12th, the Federal Reserve Board approved a final rule amending Regulation Z (Truth in Lending) to protect consumers who use credit cards. Credit card issuers must comply with most aspects of the rule beginning on February 22, 2010. Among other things, the rule limits unexpected increases in credit card interest rates by generally prohibiting increases in a rate during the first year after an account is opened and increases in a rate that applies to an existing credit card balance; prohibits the issuance of a credit card to a consumer who is younger than the age of 21 unless the consumer has the ability to make the required payments or obtains the signature of a parent or other cosigner; requires creditors to obtain a consumer's consent before charging fees for transactions that exceed the credit limit; limits the high fees associated with subprime credit cards; bans creditors from using the "two-cycle" billing method; and prohibits creditors from allocating payments in ways that maximize interest charges. Federal Reserve Board Press Release (with links to the text of the final amendments).