New Rules Unveiled for Credit Card Cos.

The Federal Reserve on Tuesday rolled out the new consumer protections it's proposing under the Credit Card Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama in May. The bill included 800 pages of rules from the Fed, reports CBS News Correspondent Jim Axelrod.

"It takes what might be cracks and crevices and tries to cement them up and give people a working blueprint of what they are going to have to comply with and how Congress wants this carried out," explained Adam Levin, founder of Credit.com.

The regulations are set to be implemented next February. They prohibit any interest rate increase in the first year after opening an account, any rate increase on an existing balance and consumers under 21 from gettting a card unless they prove they can pay or have a signature from a parent.

Leading up to the implementation of these rules, credit card companies jacked up their lowest advertised rates an average of 20 percent.

"A lot of these institutions are skating on the edge in terms of pushing congress over the edge," Levin said.

House Financial Services Chair Barney Frank is so close to the edge that he's talking about moving the start date from February to December. But the 5,000 companies that issue cards say that's too soon.

"This is a monumental change and we must make sure we get this right," said Richard Hunt of the Consumer Bankers Association.

The banks are also under mounting pressure. Discover's credit card losses were up 8 percent in August, while Bank of America's were 10 percent and Citigroup's 21 percent. But that's not generating a lot of sympathy from consumers or congress.
  • Jim Axelrod

    Jim Axelrod is the anchor of the Saturday edition of the "CBS Evening News" and a national correspondent for CBS News, reporting for the "CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley" and other CBS News broadcasts.

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