On Wednesday, the House Financial Services Committee announced that that it had approved H.R. 627, the “Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights” by a vote of 48 to 19. The bill would, among other things:  

  • Require card companies to give 45 days notice of all interest rate increases so consumers can pay off their balances and shop for a better deal;
  • End “double cycle” billing;
  • Require card companies to allocate payments proportionally to balances that have different rates; and
  • Prohibit card companies from knowingly issuing cards to individuals under age 18 who are not emancipated minors.

The principal sponsor of the bill, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), released a statement saying “This landmark legislation helps level the playing field between cardholders and card companies. For too long the relationship has been one-sided; but markets function best when all sides know what they're getting into-- and these deceptive practices need to be stopped. The Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights brings more transparency to the contractual relationship and give consumers the tools they need to responsibly manage their own credit."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) also released a statement, calling the bill “a departure from an era of government indifference to anti-consumer practices.” Speaker Pelosi further said that she looked forward to “a strong, bipartisan vote in favor of the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights and to working with the Senate to send this critical pro-consumer legislation to President Obama for his signature into law.”

The bill may be considered on the House floor as early as next week.