Countdown to Credit Card Reform: What Now?

If you’re like most Americans, Feb. 22 will be a lot like any other Monday. You’ll get up, maybe feed the kids and get them off to school, or just don your coat, grab your briefcase and trudge off to work.

But if you’re a higher-up at a major credit card company, Feb. 22 is D-Day — the day that credit card reform officially kicks in. The date was pegged by Congress in the CARD Act, passed in May 2009. For background on the bill, check here and here.

For a complete review of the CARD bill, visit the Federal Reserve Board Web site.

While most of the bill's key provisions take effect that day, most Americans don’t seem to realize it.

According to a new study by the Consumer Federation of America and Credit Union National Association, 65% of 1,000 respondents surveyed didn’t know the specifics of the CARD bill, and weren’t aware the new rules become the law of the land on Feb. 22.

Worse, many consumers seem to be misinformed about how the new law directly impacts their lives. The CFA/CUNA study reveals that 36% of credit card users think that the new law caps late fees at $35, while 31% believe it caps interest rates at 20%.

According to CFA Executive Director Stephen Brobeck, the new law does neither. “We are especially concerned that some consumers will base their future credit card use on protections that don’t exist,” says Brobeck.