WASHINGTON - Credit card providers would no longer be able to raise consumers' promotional interest rates if they're less than 60 days behind on a payment, according to a proposal put forth by the Federal Reserve on Tuesday.
The proposal looks to amend new credit card regulations that went into effect earlier this year. It aims "to enhance protections for consumers and to resolve areas of uncertainty so that card issuers fully understand their compliance obligations," the Fed said.
The proposal would treat promotional programs waiving interest rates for specific time periods the same as promotional programs offering lower interest rates for specific time periods. "A card issuer that offers to waive interest charges for six months would be prohibited from revoking the waiver and charging interest during the six-month period unless the account becomes more than 60 days delinquent," the Fed said.
It also would limit fees charged to consumers before they can open a new credit card account. "A card issuer that, for example, charges a $75 fee to apply for a credit card with a $400 credit limit generally would not be permitted to charge more than $25 in additional fees during the first year after account opening," the Fed said.
The proposal also would require issuers to consider a consumer's independent, not household, income in making decisions about creditworthiness and credit limit increases.