Thursday, April 23, 2009

Your unicorn is being boxed and readied for shipment...

President Obama is going to make those mean credit card companies be nice to you.
WASHINGTON ( -- Ramping up his campaign to crack down on credit cards, President Obama will meet Thursday with executives of 14 leading companies to press his case for new consumer protections.
Jim at "The Travis McGee Reader" is skeptical, and predicts lousy results from a plan that is really no better than...
"...pandering to what his constituents really want -- Plastic with unlimited credit; a Visa whose repayment terms are, "When ever you get around to it, ol' Buddy." They really think it's possible."


rickn8or said...

Will Teh One's actions put an end to those "Magickally Erase Your Credit Card Debts" ads that run ad nauseum on the Hate Radio stations?

If so, I'm all for it.

ExurbanKevin said...

Does this mean Obama is going to pay for my gas and my mortgage and my gas?

Obama has finally kept one of his campaign promises!

Jim W said...

If I may make a wager, I bet that this results in consumers being screwed even worse than before.

Furthermore, I would bet that they don't even make a peep about repealing BAPCPA, which is widely acknowledged (by bankruptcy attorneys and even judges speaking on the record) to be a horrible piece of legislation that was a handout to the credit card companies and a step above bringing back debtors prison.

Just like everything else the Obama administration has done, it's a bunch of lofty rhetoric coming before politics as usual.

Stryker said...

About damn time.
That thing's been on backorder for months.

Tango Juliet said...

Next week: Get your US Treasury Visa Card! Easy terms and low rates backed by the generosity of your neighbor and everyone else you feel should be screwed by .gov because they have more than you.

(No, I'm not kidding.)

WV: fornch

José Giganté said...

The only thing I wish would happen to the cc companies would be that Universities stop profiting off of having them set up signup tables on campuses. Sadly, K12 doesn't prepare students to take car of personal finances (among many other things). Not that Universities are much better.

Anonymous said...

Remind me again which of your amendments deals with private contracts? (You know, the ones cardholders sign when they accept the card...)


Blackwing1 said...

The unintended consequences of stupidity like this are (of course) somewhat unpredictable. Just exactly which policies of the credit card companies is he opposed to? The size of the print in the contracts is (so far) the only concrete one I've heard them whinging about. That's where all those fees, and interest rates, and other tidbits are "hidden" print, in front of our faces. Apparently the One feels Americans are far to stupid to read, much less understand, a contract.

So, are they going to force (with a law, behind which is law enforcement, behind which is a gun) them to reduce their interest rates? I can see that this will work really well, since the credit card companies have such high rates because of their defaults. The first unintended consequence I see is that they'll stop offering cards to people with (gasp!) poor credit ratings, since they won't be allowed to charge an interest rate commensurate with the risk that they would assume. OMG!!! They're PROFILING!!!

Etc, ad nauseum.

Divemedic said...

I actually support several of the provisions, as I do think that some of the provisions of CC agreements are deceptive.

For example: Google the term "Universal Default" This is the provision which allows a CC to raise your interest rate to the default rate (often near 30%) if they find anything on your credit report that they do not like, even if you have never been late of missed a payment to the credit card.

I was in a disagreement with my cell phone carrier over a termination fee. The cell company placed me in collections, and this was reported to the credit bureau. The problem was resolved and removed from my credit, but not before my CC company jacked the rate on my cards to 33%. Sorry, that is unfair. One way contracts with hidden provisions and out clauses that favor only one party to the contract SHOULD be regulated.

Mark Alger said...

While I tend to agree with the McGee Reader's take, (yes, there's a "but..."), I do think that any entity, individual or corporate, public or private, should be made to live up to the terms of its agreements -- as they were when they were signed. None of this changing the terms ad libido*.

About every other month, I get some notice or other from my cc company informing me of changes in my agreement. No. Sorry. I signed an agreement years ago. If you want to change it unilaterally, you should have to get my agreement to the new terms.

And, yes, I understand that there is an opt-out provision in all these things. And, if I could pay off the balance and take my business elsewhere, I would. Trust me. It's just the principle of the thing.

(Note: When somebody says, "It's the principle of the thing," it's the money.)


*Yes, I know it's ad libitum; this is a joke. Please keep your blinkered nitpicking to yourselves.

Mikee said...

In the words of Kurtz, "The Horror. The Horror. Kill Them All."

Pay off all your cards, use them about 3 times a year to keep them activated, and stop thinking about them as money you have to use.

Any questions?

Joanna said...

Reminds me of this charming anecdote:

(That's one of my all-time favorite sites, BTW. Some real gems there, especially if you've ever worked retail.)

TJP said...

I read about this yesterday, and I was hoping that I misunderstood. I guess I didn't.

Okay, stop me if I'm wrong here, but the main problem with a lot of banks at the current time is that they don't have a whole lot to back up their debt, so it's not a good idea to be free and easy with credit.

In light of this, why the heck would anyone want to make it more difficult for banks to recover debt? I think I spent enough time in serious debt to attain the title of Debt Pro. Here's a couple of pro tips from the Debt Pro:

* Your interest rate could be 500 percent--it doesn't matter if you never have a balance;

* if you don't like the the bank's terms, zero the balance and close the account.


usa:~ grep "personal revolving credit account" /usr/doc/Constitution

Obama has nothing to do with it. It doesn't matter how many new "consumer protections" are enacted, idiots who don't read their account terms aren't going to read legislation, either.

Regolith said...

If "the one" wants to simplify things for us po' benighted folk, he should start with the 60,000 page federal tax code, not with my two page credit card agreement.

randy said...

"Apparently the One feels Americans are far to stupid to read, much less understand, a contract."

Well, you gotta admit, based on last November's results, he's right on about 52% of the population.

Billll said...

The phrase "hearings into (insert industry here)" is a form of Washingtonspeak meaning "Demand for shakedown money from (insert industry here)", nothing more.

It seems the credit card people need to increase the baksheesh, which will be passed on to the card holders.

Anonymous said...

You all are missing the big picture here.

Why would O care about credit cards?

Because he needs the average american to spend money and get in debt to make his big socialism program work. If we pay off our debts, and live in our means, then he does not need to bail the banks out, we don't need to bail out GM/Wall Street and a whole bunch of other socialism programs that he is pushing.

The key is to keep easy credit and deficit spending going. Put the Yoke on the average american and spend your way out of this depression.

My attitude is simple. Live within your means. Pay off your house, pay off your cars, pay off your credit cards and don't worry about the interest rate.

I don't know what my interest rate is on my cards. I could not care less. I have not carried a balance in over 25 years now so it really does not matter to me what terms they put on it. I just pay it off ever month.