It’s amazing to thousands who write and call in to OTM—most are stunned about this new sadistic treatment by credit card companies of even the best plastic users—that the credit card industry has not been regulated. Oh, and that the legalese paperwork you sign when you open a card? Little much to do with a real contract. No, my friends, “fixed” does not actually mean “fixed.” Rates can change at any time and for any reason, even if it means getting close to looking like Loan-Shark Larry at 29 percent. Minimum payments are as flexible as Silly Putty and those nice, fat credit limits are slimming down as fast as Valerie Bertinelli.
But with the Administration’s new push to start regulating the previously unregulated, there is that ‘glimmer of hope’ we’ve all been waiting for (hence my chills at Summers words and I-can’t-wait-for the President’s credit card smack down talk coming on Thursday – set your TiVo!). Because as we’re all experiencing the wraith of bailed-out lenders, though new regulation comes in July 2010, we could all use a hand now—preferably the biggest one out there.
>>Web Extra: What to Do If Your Credit Terms Are Changed
My advice in a nutshell? Open all your credit card statements to keep track of changes. Pay down your debt as quickly as possible, if you’re not doing that already, and learn as much as you can about how your credit scores work (and when they’re most important) so you don’t mismanage your cards. And watch OTM—we’re fighting back with the best tool we’ve got, the unbeatable combo power of your wallet and knowledge of the system.