Penalty fees collected from credit card users plunged by nearly 50% between 2009 and 2013, according to new research by an industry consultant.

The card industry collected $12 billion in penalty fees last year, down from $22.9 billion in 2009, the consulting firm R.K. Hammer said in a report released Monday. Its explanation for the 48% decline: the implementation of the Card Act, a law passed by Congress that places new restrictions on the ability of card issuers to charge penalty fees. The law was passed in 2009, mostly took effect in 2010 and, in each year since, penalty fees have fallen, according to the data.

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