Last Updated Sep 30, 2010 3:14 PM EDT
John says that consumers need to watch out for the following:
Weekend charging: The new rules say if a due date falls on a weekend or holiday when the bank is closed, you can pay your bill on the next business day and not be hit with a late fee. But banks are keeping a few branches open on weekends, just so they can charge that fees.
ACTION: If your due date falls on a holiday or a weekend and you want to avoid a late fee, pick up the phone and ask your bank whether they have branches open. Or better yet, beat the due date by a week - then you won't have to worry about it.
Fee and rate changes: Credit card companies must notify you 45 days in advance of rate changes and you can actually opt out of the change. But be careful: If you carry a balance and you opt out, they can close the account and accelerate the payback by increasing your minimum monthly payments. It may make the payment unaffordable.
ACTION: Read all notices from the card companies! According to a Credit.com survey, 97% of customers ignore them.
College gotchas: The new rules say that if you're under 21, you can't get a credit card unless you have a parent co-sign or can show proof of a job that would allow you to pay your bills. But just like getting a senior to buy your booze, card companies often look the other way when classmates act as co-signers.
ACTION: Parents need to warn/threaten their children about this loophole!