Congressional legislation (in the form of the CARD act) passed two years ago aided in keeping the credit card companies somewhat in check when it came to assessing fees and penalties.
Today, however, banks are gradually beginning to implement a new set of charges their credit card customers have already begun feeling; and others that will have negative consequences in the very near future.
For example, at one point the Bank of America began notifying select customers they will be assessed a $59 annual fee. Why some of their customers, and not all of them? The answer lies in the amount of risk each of their customer presents.
Those who are being charged include those whose balances are at or near their maximum credit limit; those whose FICO scores are low; and those who have no other accounts or investments with the bank in question.
Bank of America also added penalty interest rates of as much as 29.99 percent to the balances of customers who do not make payments on time. Bank of America officials explain that each case will be judged differently and not everyone who makes a late payment will be assessed this high rate.
This article is not meant to single out Bank of America. In fact, other financial institutions have been assessing penalty interest rates for years, but because Bank of America is one of the nation’s largest banks, its change in penalties will affect many others.
There are other ways in which banks are attempting to recoup money include discontinuing debit card rewards programs, charging fees for checking accounts and instituting a fee for using an ATM.
The same financial institutions that got billions in bailout money are now holding their cardholders – the very ones who provided the bailout money – to a higher standard. It makes one wonder when it all will end.