Business

Highglights of the Credit Cardholders' Bill Of Rights Act

- Prohibits retroactive rate increases unless the cardholder is at least 60 days behind in paying the bill. If a person does fall behind and the rate on past buys is increased, lenders must restore the lower rate after six months if the cardholder has paid monthly bills on time.

- Requires lenders to post credit card agreements on the Internet.

- Requires that customers receive 45 days notice before rates are increased (took effect in August).

- Requires 21 days between the time statements are sent out and the payment is due, up from 14 days under existing rules (took effect in August).

- Allows cardholders to reject new interest rate terms and to pay off existing balances under the old terms (took effect in August).

- Requires people younger than 21 to prove they can repay the money before being given cards, or have parents or guardians promise to pay the debts if they default. Also, no more giveaways on college campuses for card applications.

- Prohibits over-the-limit fees unless a cardholder elects to be allowed to go over a limit.

- Requires lenders to say how much time it would take and how much money in interest would be paid if only the minimum monthly payments are made.

- Requires that gift cards remain valid for five years.

- Bans "pay-to-pay" fees, which are charged when someone pays the bill over the phone or Internet.

- The Associated Press

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