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Archive for the 'credit cards' Category

Lowey pushes for credit-card legislation


U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey today called for Congress to pass federal legislation that would stop credit card companies from engaging in billing practices that make it harder for consumers to escape a vicious cycle of debt.

“Credit card companies should not be permitted to use deceptive and unfair billing practices that can put financial security out of reach, especially for college students who are being forced to start their financial independence severely in the red,” Lowey, a Harrison Democrat, said in a written statement.

The average outstanding balance on the credit cards of college undergraduates is $2,169, and the average interest rate for standard bank credit cards topped 19 percent last year, according to Lowey.

Lowey criticized the industry for practices that include “universal default,” or interest rate increases based on a cardholder’s other accounts, and “double-cycle billing,” or assessing interest on all charges made in a month when the entire balance is not paid in full.

Companies also may offer introductory interest rates that rise dramatically without the cardholder’s knowledge.

Lowey called for Congress to pass the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act that would prohibit universal default and double-cycle billing. It would also prevent credit card companies from unfairly targeting minors, require 45-day notice of interest rate increases, and allow cardholders to set a ceiling on their credit limit, preventing students from falling heavily into debt.

The legislation has been approved by the House Financial Services Committee and may be considered by the House of Representatives during the next two weeks.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Monday, September 15th, 2008 at 1:56 pm |
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MasterCard to develop mobile payment system


MasterCard Inc. is looking to take a page out of Western Union’s play book in developing a system using mobile phones that will allow U.S. consumers to transfer funds to friends and family nationwide.

The mobile-payment system, made possible through an agreement with Obopay Inc., a California-based mobile payment service, will give customers of banks that issue MasterCard debit or credit cards the ability to make money transfers via their cell phones using mobile numbers to send and receive funds.

Purchase-based MasterCard expects to test the system later this year and introduce the service in early 2009.

Shares of MasterCard fell in trading today, losing $8.59, or 2.9 percent, to $284.01.

Posted by David Schepp on Friday, June 20th, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
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