Sudden credit card increases

March 9, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Your credit card company may be penalizing you and you may not even know it. Credit.com personal finance expert, Emily Peters, helps explain.

New Survey: More than 1/3 of Consumers Penalized by Credit Card Companies

According to a new survey for National Consumer Protection Week (March 1-8) from Credit.com, a third (33.7%) of consumers say their credit card company has made one or more of the following changes to their credit account:

  • Increased their interest rate 15%
  • Increased their minimum payment due 11%
  • Changed their due date 9%
  • Lowered their credit limit 8%
  • Reduced their rewards program 8%
  • Closed their account 7%

A majority of credit card holders aren't paying attention to potential changes to their accounts, a sign of poor financial literacy that could set them up for damaging situations.

More than 66 percent of the people who responded said they did not know what, if any, changes their credit card companies made to their card accounts recently.

The survey was done by GfK, and involved live telephone interviews with more than 1000 people nationwide.

Consumers need to check their monthly statements - or even better, monitor their accounts online daily - to make sure their agreements haven't changed.

It is also wise for consumers to periodically use all the credit cards they hold, because companies have been closing inactive accounts as one way to reduce their potential lending.

It is possible creditors are acting ahead of new federal regulations that take effect in 2010 that will make it harder to make changes to accounts.

About Credit.com, Inc.
Credit.com, a leading consumer education and financial services company, is one of the Web's premier personal finance sites. Credit.com was established in 1995 to give consumers access to comprehensive credit and financial education, straightforward answers, and "best of breed" credit products. The company's goal is to help consumers of any credit standing navigate their financial life stages, from establishing and wisely using credit, to managing and rebuilding it. Credit.com works with industry experts to create clear paths for consumers looking to improve their finances. For more information, please visit www.credit.com.

About Emily Peters:
Emily Peters is a personal finance expert with Credit.com and a former credit bureau insider. Her areas of expertise include credit cards, credit scores, debt issues, loans, identity theft and savings.

Emily comes to Credit.com from a background in consumer education with the credit bureau, TransUnion. Through her industry experience, Emily learned the inner workings of the credit system. She now applies this knowledge to promote financial literacy with Credit.com.

As a personal finance expert, Emily has been quoted by USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, Bankrate, Kiplinger's Personal Finance, American Banker, Smart Money, the Associated Press, the Washington Post, CBS News and the Wall Street Journal. She also regularly provides commentary to Fox News and Fox Business News.

Emily coordinates Credit.com's team of experts; serving as editor for CreditBloggers.com and the Credit Expert team on Twitter. She specializes in working with consumers to answer credit questions and interpreting news headlines from a personal finance perspective.

Emily has presented live financial empowerment seminars at Money Wi$e Women, the YWCA Women & Money Conference and Dress for Success.

She holds a B.A. in Communication from University of the Pacific. Emily went by the last name "Davidson" before September 2008.


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