Senior Writer Connie Prater

Connie Prater

Connie Prater is a former senior writer at She has been a reporter and editor for print and online news organizations for nearly three decades. Her career accomplishments include the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting awarded to the Miami Herald staff for a series of articles on voter fraud in the Miami city elections.

Other honors include the Society of American Business Editors and Writers' Best in Business awards in 2010 for creative use of online media and in 2011 for feature writing and creative use of online across multiple platforms.

Prater has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a master's in business administration from Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida. In addition to the Miami Herald, she has worked for the Detroit Free Press, the Detroit News and

Connie Prater's stories on

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau watchdog turns 1 -- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau opened for business July 21, 2011. One year later, the watchdog still has political enemies but has won allies ... (See CFPB turns 1)

Capital One to refund $150 million to credit card customers -- The bank marketed its "add-on" credit protection, credit monitoring products deceptively, say federal agencies in announcing the consumer refunds and fines ... (See Capital One)

IRS to tax-exempt hospitals: Go easier on medical debt collection -- Low-income Americans who fall behind on their medical bills will be spared the worst debt collection tactics under new IRS rules that grew out of the health care law ... (See Affordable Care Act)

Federal agency opens credit card complaint database to public -- The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is opening credit card complaints to public scrutiny for the first time. As of June 19, anyone with a Web browser can search the database to sift through cardholder complaints ... (See Credit card complaints)

Why open credit card complaints to public scrutiny? -- The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is considering plans to make credit card complaints available for public scrutiny. Banks want to limit access because complaints are a skewed picture of how they operate. Consumer groups want open access. ... (See CFPB)

Prepaid cards set to get federal consumer protections -- The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is seeking public comments on beefing up consumer protections in the prepaid card industry ... (See Prepaid cards)

Winners and losers 3 years after Credit CARD Act -- Three years after President Obama signed the Credit CARD Act of 2009, consumers are better off, there are fewer complaints and huge interest rate hikes haven't come to pass ... (See CARD Act 3rd anniversary) poll: About 6 million in US hid bank accounts from spouse, partner -- Call it financial infidelity: A poll found that about 7 percent of people are hiding a credit card, checking or savings account from their partners ... (See Financial infidelity)

Fed watchdog backs down, OKs credit card fee before you even get the card -- Reversing position, the agency will allow application and administrative fees to be charged before accounts are opened and with no limit on the amount ... (See Credit card fees)

States, feds target debt settlement legal firms over upfront fees -- When the Federal Trade Commission banned upfront fees for debt settlement firms, a funny thing happened: More law firms suddenly began offering debt settlement services -- and charging upfront fees ... (See Debt settlement legal firms)

Financial watchdog begins accepting banking-related complaints -- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau launches a website and toll-free number for consumers to file complaints about banking-related financial services, including debit card and ATM problems ... (See Debit, checking complaints)

FTC: ID theft, debt collection top consumer complaint list in 2011 -- Credit cards and debt issues are tied in with many of the most-griped-about categories, but complaints about credit cards themselves fell in rank ... (See FTC consumer complaints)

Poll: 2 out of 3 would stop using their card if iRS starts taxing rewards points -- A poll shows consumers really hate the idea of having their rewards points taxed -- a possibility card and tax experts are starting to debate ... (See Taxing miles, points)

Many people fail to claim exemption from canceled credit card debt income -- Frustrated by the complexity of the form and frustrated by debt, many people do not take advantage of their right to to cut taxes on forgiven debt ... (See Canceled debt 1099-C)

Reward point 'gifts' are taxable, says the IRS -- Credit card points not taxable, but sign-up bonuses for bank accounts are ... (See Card rewards taxable)

Consumer watchdog begins supervising nonbanks -- A day after his appointment as the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Richard Cordray launches closer federal scrutiny of nonbank financial services companies, such as payday lenders, debt collectors and credit bureaus. ... (See CFPB)

Obama uses controversial recess appointment, names Ricahrd Cordray to head consumer financial watchdog -- President Obama appoints former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The recess appointment thwarts -- for now -- efforts by Republican senators to block the nomination ... (See CFPB recess appointment)

Military families under fire -- from predatory lenders -- They may be formidable fighters, but to predatory lenders, soldiers are seen as young, naive and easy pickings ... (See Military money)

Troops coming home from Iraq will have to navigate financial land mines -- Returning soldiers can face lower pay, the loss of legal protection and temptations all around them to spend ... (See Military money )

Helping military families avoid financial troubles -- Experts offer advice to troops on guarding their IDs, avoiding scams ... (See Military money)

Financial watchdog unveils prototype of simpler credit card agreement -- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is taking steps to make those confusing credit card agreements easier to read and understand. The agency released a prototype of a simpler agreement and is seeking public input on its design ... (See Credit card model agreement)

Financial watchdog logs 5,000 credit card complaints in first 3 months -- In its first report about a new consumer complaint system, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says it received more than 5,000 complaints about credit cards during the first three months of operation and the majority of them were resolved. ... (See CFPB complaints)

Wallet battle: Merchants push debit, banks push credit card -- Pay with a debit card and retailers are happy because it has the least costly card processing fees. Bankers, on the other hand, may be hoping you choose a credit card to pay for your next purchase because they maximize profit potential for card issuers. ... (See Retailers vs. banks )

Bowing to pressure, BofA drops controversial debit card use fee -- After weeks of negative publicity and customer anger, Bank of America announced Tuesday it will drop plans for a controversial fee for using debit cards ... (See Debit card fees)

More banks back away from debit card use fees -- More banks are backing away from charging customers to access their own money with debit cards. Wells Fargo bank cancelled a controversial pilot program that tested $3 monthly debit card use fees. SunTrust bank cancelled a similar monthly debit card fee. ... (See Debit card fees)

Chase, other banks won't charge debit card usage fees -- Chase, PNC and Citi are among the banks that will not charge debit card users additional monthly fees for accessing their own money in checking accounts. Bank of America's $5 monthly debit card fee begins in early 2012 for certain customers. ... (See Banks shy away from debit fees)

Debit card user revolt: 2 out of 3 say they ditch their cards if hit with use fees -- Two out of three debit cardholders say they'll stop using their cards if they're hit with new debit card use fees, according to a new poll. Consumer groups warn switching may not be so easy ... (See Debit fees spark rage)

Mom-and-pop merchants' debit card costs rising -- Merchants that accept debit cards for purchases under $15 are learning of one fallout from the new federal cap on debit card swipe fees: Their costs will rise because the card networks have dropped the small-ticket-item discount ... (See Debit card swipe fees)

Senate Banking Committee OKs Richard Cordray as financial watchdog agency director -- Former Ohio attorney general Richard Cordray moved a step closer to becoming the first director of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The Senate Banking Committee voted 12-10 along party lines to confirm Cordray's nomination for the job ... (See CFPB and Richard Cordray)

9 ways to avoid debit card usage fees -- Experts say consumers can avoid paying big banks' new monthly debit card fees by switching to a smaller bank, using credit cards or mobile payments, or pulling out that old-fashioned green paper -- cash ... (See Debit card use fees)

Bank of America to charge debit card customers $5 monthly use fee -- Bank of America will begin charging its debit card customers $5 a month when they use their debit cards to access money in their checking and savings accounts. BofA is the largest bank to institute debit card fees ... (See Debit card fee)

As regulators hover, Some banks simplify credit card contracts -- Some U.S. banks are rewriting credit card agreements to make them easier to understand and reader friendly for consumers ... (See Credit card contracts simplified)

New federal credit card complaint system off to a rocky start -- Complaints about complaint system: Banks say gripes to new consumer watchdog bureau's centralized system sometimes don't get through ... (See Credit card complaints)

A new fee for accessing your own money: Banks debut debit card activity fees -- Wells Fargo has sent notices to customers that starting Oct. 14, it will cost them $3 a month to use a debit card. The activity fees are a way for banks to recoup lost revenue from new caps on "swipe fees" ... (See $ fee for debit use)

If U.S. can't make payroll, federal workers, aid recipients will have help, lenders say -- Banks and credit unions that cater to federal employees are beginning to offer aid to their account holders should the U.S. fail to reach a debt ceiling deal and stops paying its workers ... (See Debt crisis)

Day 1 for new consumer financial protection watchdog -- On its first day of existence, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau began policing large banks for consumer protection and launched a website to collect consumer complaints about credit cards ... (See CFPB)

New consumer watchdog opens for business amid controversy, questions -- A new federal agency charged with protecting consumers from unfair financial products debuts July 21, but it's a watchdog some want to keep on a short leash ... (See Consumer watchdog agency opens)

White House nominates former Ohio attorney general new consumer financial czar -- Amid growing criticism that the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will open Thursday without a director, President Obama has announced that former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray will head the agency. The U.S. Senate must confirm the nominee. ... (See Richard Cordray)

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, your new watchdog: What it can do -- Now that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has come to life, the new federal agency has a host of issues it can act upon. Here's a closer look at some of them ... (See Topics for the new financial watchdog)

Fed sets debit 'swipe fee' cap at 21 cents -- An outcry from bankers wins them a break, but their so-called interchange fees will still be halved ... (See Swipe fee cap)

Poll: Dad's not always the first parent kids turn to for personal finance advice -- Our money management skills are patterned after mom most often, but dad comes in a close second, according to a poll ... (See Dads shape money habits)

Debit card swipe fee limits survive U.S. Senate vote -- After a Senate vote to delay them fails, new caps on fees that banks and credit unions charge merchants when customers make debit card transactions are expected to be implemented as planned by July 21, 2011 ... (See Swipe fees)

Survey: Annual fees kept at bay despite credit card reform law -- Dire predictions from card issuers that a 2009 reform law would boost fees has not come to pass, our fee survey shows ... (See Credit card fee survey)

Want a secured card? Experts offer advice on managing secured card accounts -- Secured cards have higher rates and fees, but their terms vary, so it pays to comparison shop and ask questions ... (See Secured credit cards)

Pew report: Credit card rates, fees stablized since passage of credit card reform -- Credit card interest rates and fees have stabilized in the last year, according to a study from the Pew Safe Credit Cards Project. ... (See Pew study)

Poll: Mom matters most in shaping our financial habits -- Our money management skills are patterned after Mom most often, but spouses rule for daily spending and big purchases, according to a new poll. ... (See Moms and spending)

How to remove an authorized user from a credit card account -- Card issuers' policies vary in the details, but If you've been added as an authorized user on another person's credit card account, call the issuer if you want to be removed ... (See Authorized user)

Debit card swipe fee debate pits banks against retailers; consumers in the middle -- Bankers and merchants are fighting hard over the billions in 'swipe fees' charged each time you use a debit card to buy something. But what's in it for consumers? ... (See Debit swipe fees)

Banks change check, debit card clearance process to reduce customer overdrafts -- The former practice of processing biggest payments first had led to high fees, consumer group complaints ... (See Overdraft fees)

CARD Act interest rate reductions kick in for some -- Thanks to the Credit CARD Act, some cardholders are getting a surprise in the mail: an interest rate reduction ... (See Credit card rate reductions)

FTC report: credit card complaints nosedive in 2010 -- Consumer advocates say the sharp drop in complaints proves the credit card reform law is working, but the FTC isn't convinced ... (See Credit card complaints)

Federal consumer watchdog says CARD Act has helped consumers -- One year after sweeping credit card reforms took effect, credit card holders are better off, but confusion still lingers, says the federal Consumer Financial Protection Board ... (See CARD Act's impact)

Study: U.S. credit cards more transparent since new law kicked in -- A study marking the one-year anniversary of the reforms enacted by the Credit CARD Act finds they haven't raised prices, and have increased transparency ... (See CARD Act study)

Your identity's price list: How credit card data sells cheaply on the black market -- The increasingly sophisticated credit card black market has grown to resemble a legitimate one, with specialty niches for workers, cheap prices and even money-back guarantees on their ill-gotten merchandise, says a new report ... (See Credit card black market)

Consumer Reports urges consumers to write Congress about unreadable credit card agreeements -- Consumer Reports launched a campaign urging consumers to write or call their U.S. Senators with this message: Make credit card contracts simple, clear and short ... (See Credit card agreements)

Debt settlement industry in flux as new rules start -- For-profit companies can no longer charge clients upfront fees for debt negotiations, so the industry is undergoing a shakeout. What's that mean for consumers in debt? ... (See Debt settlement changing)

Discover test credit card offers draw criticism -- The test offers Discover made skirt the edges of federal regulations requiring complete disclosure of terms, say consumer advocates ... (See Discover)

Debit card payments surpass checks, credit cards -- New Federal Reserve Board study of noncash payment methods shows debit cards are Americans' first choice when buying retail items. Writing paper checks continued a steady decline and is no longer the No. 1 noncash payment method. ... (See Debit card payments)

You made a layaway purchase? How to retrieve your merchandise -- Buying by layaway has made a comeback, so many people are new to the process. Here's how to make sure your merchandise retrieval goes smoothly ... (See Layaway retrieval tips)

Credit card agreements still mostly unreadable -- A few months ago, we analyzed all the credit card agreements posted on a new public database and found them unreadable to four out of five American adults. We looked again at the worst offenders and find little improvement ... (See Unreadable card agreements)

Fed moves to close credit card application fee loophole -- Some card issuers had ducked a cap on fees on new accounts by charging a fee before the account was open. Not so fast, says the Fed ... (See Credit card fees)

How to prepare financially for time in prison -- Experts say few people serving time take steps to safeguard their finances while behind bars. Doing so helps them avoid piling on more debt from interest, fines and fees ... (See Money and prison)

Going to jail? 10 tips for reducing the financial damage -- Credit counselors, attorneys and ex-convicts offer 10 pieces of advice on safeguarding your finances if you're going to jail ... (See Prison and finances)

Sending money to jail, managing it while in prison pose challenges -- Need to send money to someone in jail or prison? Restrictions abound, rules vary and jails are their own mini-economies ... (See Prison and finances)

Going mobile to make payments? You could be losing protection of consumer laws -- When it comes to mobile commerce, all payment methods are not created equal. Transactions linked to prepaid cards offer the least protection against unauthorized use and billing disputes ... (See Mobile payment protections)

Credit CARD Act begins final phase -- Gift card protections, requirements for reasonable fees and mandatory account reviews when interest rates are hiked are among the new consumer protections in Phase III of the Credit CARD Act of 2009. ... (See Credit CARD Act of 2009)

FTC bans upfront fees for debt settlement firms -- Those who owe on credit cards, other loans were often soaked, federal agency says in banning upfront fees for debt settlement ... (See Debt settlement fees)

Consumer financial protections at least a year away -- Long ramp up time for new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau means consumers will have to wait for credit card protections ... (See Consumer financial protection)

Credit card contracts unreadable for most Americans -- A analysis of the contracts filed in a federal database shows most can't comprehend the agreements their credit card issuers send them ... (See Unreadable card agreements)

Quotable: What lawmakers, experts say about's readability study -- Lawmakers, consumer advocates, banking industry officials and financial literacy and readability experts react to the analysis of the readability of U.S. credit card agreements ... (See readability study)

How your credit card agreement compares in readability to familiar documents: the Bible, 'Twilight,' nursery rhymes -- According to a analysis, the average credit card agreement is harder to read than a Bible verse, and more challenging than a real estate purchasing contract. But how do they compare to other works, such as the first Twilight book or even 'Itsy Bitsy Spider'? ... (See Credit card agreement)

Fed: Credit companies admit profiling credit card users -- What you buy and where you buy it can sometimes be held against you by your credit card issuer, a Federal Reserve report to Congress Friday reveals ... (See Credit card profiling)

Wall Street reform bill taking shape for consumers -- Although there are still a few steps to go before the massive Wall Street Reform legislation becomes law, one thing is certain: Consumers will have a new watchdog agency looking out for their interests in credit card agreements, debt collection and debit card fees, to name a few. ... (See Wall Street bill and consumers)

Poll: 3 in 4 say their credit card accounts are better off today than a year ago -- A year after landmark credit card reforms became law, three in four cardholders say their accounts are better off. Consumer groups say more protections are needed to combat new, questionable practices launched by lenders. ... (See CARD Act poll)

The Credit CARD of 2009 turns 1: A year-long look at the landmark legislation -- What a difference a year makes. One year ago this week, President Obama signed historic legislation revamping how Americans acquire, use and pay for credit cards. Use this time line to view key developments affecting credit card users and their accounts. ... (See CARD Act)

How to read, understand your credit card statement -- A lot of work goes into something no one likes to see: a credit card bill. This interactive guide breaks down how yours should look and what it must contain ... (See Card statements' new look)

CARD Act didn't stop flow of credit card offers mailed to young adults -- Parents and young adults around the country may wonder why they are still getting mail offers nearly eight weeks after major portions of the CARD Act took effect. ... (See CARD Act)

Consumer groups to Fed: Stop debit card overdraft opt-in 'scare' tactics -- Federal regulators got an earful from banks and consumers on its proposed rules to change overdraft protection to an opt-in feature, including complaints that banks are using scare tactics to get customers to sign up ... (See Overdraft opt in)

Senate committee passes reform including consumer financial agency -- A wide-ranging Wall Street reform bill that passed a key Senate committee Monday includes a consumer financial protection bureau under the Federal Reserve. ... (See Consumer financial protection)

Credit card agreement from your issuer -- Federal law requires credit card issuers to post their agreements; find yours from this list. ... (See Agreements)

White House answers credit card questions -- Austan Goolsbee, an economist and White House credit card expert, answered consumer questions about the new credit card reform law during a live town hall webcast on ... (See Town hall)

New credit card era begins with latest CARD Act provisions -- It's a new day for credit cards. As of Feb. 22, 2010, new consumer protections within the Credit CARD Act of 2009 take effect. ... (See CARD Act debuts)

White House to answer consumer questions about Credit CARD Act -- The White House will answer Americans' questions about the new credit card reform law during a live online town hall at 2 p.m. EST Feb. 22. ... (See White House credit card town hall)

Poll: Americans grumpy after parking their plastic over the holiday -- The holiday shopping season was a grumpy affair for many Americans who were struggling to downsize their credit card debt ... (See Poll)

5 smart moves to make before the new credit card law takes effect -- For some, swift action is called for to lock in a deal before the law's provisions kick in Feb. 22. For others, the best move is to wait. ... (See 5 smart moves)

Feds plug loophole in credit card law that prevented rates from instantly falling -- The Federal Reserve fixed a problem in the wording of the Credit CARD Act that would have made consumers wait 45 days if they wanted reduced interest rates. ... (See Credit card interest rates)

Applying for a credit card after Feb. 22? Issuers will be checking income -- Starting Feb. 22, credit card issuers will do financial checkups on potential customers and anyone getting increased credit limits. ... (See Worthy?)

Fed knocks the 'floor' out of variable credit card interest rates -- It's good news for consumers who have variable rate credit card accounts that set floors on how low their rates could drop, but no ceiling on how high they could climb. ... (See Floors)

Credit card interest rate protections already in effect -- With fewer than 45 days to go before major provisions of the new Credit CARD Act take effect, interest rate protections are already in effect for consumers. ... (See Rate hikes)

Fed issues final Credit CARD Act rules -- The Federal Reserve issued final rules implementing the second phase of the credit card reform law. They are the most significant changes in credit card laws in decades. ... (See Credit CARD Act of 2009)

Instant in-store credit card offers in jeopardy -- Retailers say instant credit card offers won't be possible if consumers have to provide paycheck stubs or other income information at the cash register. ... (See Instant cards)

Issuer of 79.9% interest rate credit card defends its product -- Subprime credit card marketers are looking for ways around new restrictions on sky-high fees for bad credit cards. One option they're testing: sky-high interest rates. ... (See 79.9 percent)

U.S. seeks clear path to (really) free credit reports -- Ever try to claim one of your "free" credit reports and get sidetracked or charged a fortune? The Federal Trade Commission wants new rules that clear the clutter. ... (See Ads)

U.S. House approves credit card watchdog agency -- The U.S. House approved sweeping new reforms that include creating a watchdog agency to safeguard consumers from abuses and deception in credit cards, mortgages and other financial products. ... (See Protection)

Poll: 2 in 5 parents giving adult children bailouts on debts -- Nearly 42 percent of people with adult children say they have paid off debts for their offspring at some point, according to a new scientific poll. ... (See Bailout)

Agencies release new models for consumer privacy rights notices -- Federal agencies released samples of model privacy rights notices that are simpler and easier to understand. But banks are not required to use the forms. ... (See Privacy)

Fed: Consumers must opt in to debit card overdraft fees -- Debit card overdraft policies must not be forced on consumers, say new Federal Reserve rules. Consumers will now have a choice ... (See Opt in)

Credit card issuers: Sorry, new law says we can't cut your rates quickly -- Credit card issuers turn on its head the reform law that bans sudden rate increases; they say that it also forbids quick rate cuts. ... (See No rate cut for you)

Credit cardholders 'Discover' new terms in fine print -- Discover is the first of the major credit card issuers to give cardholders details of new terms under credit card law provisions ... (See Compliance)

House committee: Move up credit card law -- A key U.S. House committee voted to move up implementation of interest rate restrictions in the Credit CARD Act by nearly three months to Dec. 1, 2009, to fast-track consumer protections. ... (See Reform)

BofA pledges moratorium on credit card interest rate hikes -- Bank of America has pledged not to increase credit card interest rates until February 2010. Congress wants other card issuers to make the same pledge. ... (See Rates)

Credit card marketers drop out of college campuses -- Fall 2009 is card issuers' last unfettered chance to sign up students. Rather than give an all-out marketing blitz in its last chance, issuers pulling back. ... (See College)

Piggybacking, meant to jump-start credit, can backfire -- Becoming an authorized user on a parent, guardian or other adult's credit card account can have pitfalls as well as rewards ... (See Piggybacking)

College students love, hate new credit card law -- College students across the country praise and condemn a new law that will restrict issuing credit cards to anyone under 21 beginning in February 2010. ... (See Credit CARD Act of 2009)

Fed: Want a credit card? Prove you can pay the bill -- In an 800-page document released Sept. 29, 2009, the Fed lays out rules that require credit card issuers to confirm borrowers' ability to pay ... (See Fed: prove ability to pay credit card )

Credit card reform law quirk: 45 days' notice becomes 14 -- Yes, the new credit card reform law requires 45 days' notice of rate hikes, but if you use the card after 14 days, the new rate applies. ... (See Quirk)

Got a beef with a credit card issuer? Here's how to file a complaint -- Can't resolve a problem you're having with your credit card issuer? You can file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a federal watchdog agency that oversees large banks, credit union or savings institutions. ... (See Complain about your credit card issuer)

Q and A on first phase of new credit card law -- Consumers get the right to opt out of rate increases, notification and billing requirements become clearer. ... (See Law)

Consumers gain right to opt out of credit card rate increases -- The first phase of the new Credit CARD Act of 2009 kicked in Aug. 20, lengthening notice requirements to 45 days and giving consumers the right to opt out of rate increases. ... (See Law)

Poll: Credit card issuers punish cardholders, but pursue a few -- Credit card issuers have punished two of every five cardholders by acts such as rate increases, but a few have been rewarded, says a poll. ... (See Whacked)

Fed bank regulator's report says national banks still tightening lending standards -- A report from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency shows shows no banks easing credit card standards while 68 percent are tightening up. ... (See Credit card lending)

Poll: Americans losing sleep over finances -- More than two out of three Americans are losing sleep because of financial worries, according to a new poll. ... (See Insomnia)

Federal Reserve issues final rules on first phase of Credit CARD Act -- The Federal Reserve released the interim final rules on the first phase of the new Credit CARD Act of 2009 covering advance notice of card changes, the right to opt out of changes and providing at least 21 days to pay monthly bills. ... (See Credit CARD Act of 2009)

Time for the big credit card talk with college students -- The new Credit CARD Act of 2009 limits issuing and marketing credit cards to people under 21. It may mean more parents will have to discuss managing credit with their children. ... (See The big talk)

Download a sample credit card contract for parents, young adult children -- This downloadable contract between parents and their young adult children about credit card use can be a starting point for talk about co-signing for a credit card. ... (See Sample credit card contract)

Obama proposes new consumer protection agency for credit cards, other financial services -- The Obama administration proposes creating a Consumer Financial Protection Agency as a consumer watchdog for credit cards and other complicated financial products. ... (See Watchdog proposal)

Summary: What a Consumer Financial Protection Agency would mean to credit card users -- This table summarizes how credit cardholders would be affected by President Obama's sweeping financial reform proposal. ... (See Consumer financial protection)

A guide to the Credit CARD Act of 2009 -- The federal government has enacted sweeping reforms into how credit cards work; learn what they mean to you through this interactive guide. ... (See A guide)

What you buy and where you shop may affect your credit -- The new Credit CARD Act calls for a probe of whether shopping at certain merchants or buying certain items affects your creditworthiness. ... (See Credit card purchases)

Obama signs credit card reforms into law -- His signature starts the enactment clock ticking on new consumer protections. ... (See Law)

Will credit card law will hurt more people than it helps? -- Card issuers say the new law will hurt consumers; consumer advocates say the card issuers are bluffing. ... (See New law)

House easily passes credit card reform bill -- Following today's 361-64 House vote, President Obama is poised to sign credit card restrictions into law. ... (See Vote)

U.S. Senate votes for credit card reform bill -- Riding on a wave of anti-bank and pro-consumer sentiment sweeping the country, the U.S. Senate today passed unprecedented credit card industry reforms designed to help millions of families struggling to pay credit card debt. ... (See Vote)

What the new credit card law means for you -- Now that landmark credit card reforms have taken effect, here's how its provisions will affect you. ... (See Protections)

How to cope until new credit card law takes effect -- Consumer advocates say cardholders should wean themselves off of credit cards, pay down debt and pay on time during this period before new protections kick in. ... (See Advice)

Obama to hold town hall meeting on credit cards this week -- President Barack Obama will hold a town hall meeting on credit cards in Albuquerque, N.M., May 14. ... (See Meet)

Feds: Close rate-hike loopholes in credit card rules -- Feds propose rule amendments to close loopholes that would have allowed interest rate hikes by credit card issuers; the public can comment on them until June 4. ... (See Loopholes)

U.S. House passes Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights -- With strong backing from President Obama, a measure reining in credit card issuers passed the House of Representatives -- and even got stronger. ... (See Bill)

Bulletin: U.S. House easily passes cardholders' bill of rights -- The U.S. House of Representatives again passes tough consumer credit card protections, but this time with presidential backing. ... (See Bill)

Survey: 34 million Americans admit paying credit card bills late -- More than 58 million Americans admit they don't pay their bills on time, including 34 million who were late paying credit card bills, according to an annual consumer survey. ... (See Survey)

Sample credit card interest rate increase opt-out letter -- New credit card law requires issuers to give consumers the right to opt out of interest rate increases. This sample opt-out letter will help you decline them. ... (See Rate-increase opt-out letter)

How to react to a 'rate-jack' attack -- The bad news is in. Your credit card issuer has sent a change in term notice of an impending interest rate hike on your account. But you have options. ... (See How to handle credit card rate increases)

Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights passes House committee -- On the eve of a key meeting between President Barack Obama and top credit card industry executives, the House Financial Services Committee passes the Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights ... (See H.R. 627)

Health debit cards take the hassle of medical bill payment -- Despite initial excitement over use and convenience of debit cards for medical expenses, the payment cards have been slow to catch on. ... (See Medical)

Capital One pulls out of health care financing market -- Capital One will end its Healthcare Financing program April 10, 2009. The company cites the credit and economic environment. ... (See Cap One)

New York AG claims Chase fee victory -- Chase Card Services insists "customer feedback" -- rather than attorney general or pending lawsuits -- prompted company to rescind $10 fee. ... (See Chase fee)

Chase cancels $10 monthly fee -- Citing "customer feedback," Chase Card Services cancels a controversial $10-a-monthly maintenance fee for some 400,000 customers. ... (See Chase)

Credit card terms are changing for the worse for consumers -- Have you read your credit card terms lately? Many credit card issuers are rolling out new fees, slashing rewards points and hiking existing fees and interest rates -- even for good customers. ... (See Changes)

Credit card issuers beware: Feds will be watching -- Federal regulators will use federal law against unfair or deceptive trade practices to judge future credit card practices. ... (See FDIC)

Commercial, business credit cards not covered by new federal regulations -- New credit card rules approved by federal regulators in December 2008 give greater protections to consumers and families with credit cards -- but not to corporate or small business cardholders. ... (See Protection)

Consumers have fewer options for using credit cards for medical expenses -- As the credit crunch deepens, using credit cards to pay for health and medical expenses may no longer be an option. ... (See Crunch)

Example shows how switching credit cards has become harder, costlier -- We took some typical prices of cards and fees in the credit card marketplace of early 2009 and find that for the credit card shopper who fits the average, the cost is ... ... (See Balance transfer)

Don't like your credit card terms? Just switch, right? Maybe, maybe not. -- If you don't like your credit card, just get a new one, right? Not so easy any more. ... (See Switch)

Average credit card balances rose to $7,300 in 2007, Fed survey says -- The Federal Reserve released its triennial look at Americans' finances. Seven in 10 households have credit cards, but nearly half carry balances each month ... (See Balances)

Poll: Holiday spending less pleasant for consumers -- A new poll shows two out of five Americans report less pleasant holiday shopping than last year. ... (See Shopping)

Round 2 for Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights -- Two New York Congress members are reintroducing the Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights. Will the second time around be a winner for credit card practices law? ... (See Card law)

Your credit card is a tattletale: With electronic payments, little is private -- Credit card issuers have access to a wealth of information about where you shop, how much you spend and how often. Increasingly, they use that data to change your access to credit. ... (See Privacy)

Poll: Credit card payments last on list of bills -- A new poll shows cash-strapped Americans would pay their credit card bills last and mortgage first. Credit card debt is still a taboo topic. ... (See Poll)

U.S. bankruptcies top 1 million in '08 -- U.S. bankruptcy filings topped 1 million in 2008, according to figures released by the American Bankruptcy Institute. ... (See Bankruptcy)

Credit card consolidation -- Methods for credit card consolidation and how to save money in interest and finance charges. ... (See credit card consolidation)

Your monthly credit card statement gets a makeover -- Credit card issuers have begun to roll out new monthly statements to their customers. The makeovers were required by new federal rules that take full effect July 1, 2010. ... (See Changes)

Credit card marketer must repay customers $114 million -- The Federal Trade Commission has ended its suit against subprime credit card marketer CompuCredit Corp. with an agreement for the company to repay card users $114 million. ... (See Lawsuit)

How to manage credit card accounts until new rules kick in -- Even though regulators have approved tough new credit card rules, consumers still must watch out for tricks and traps of the credit card game. Here's a checklist of what to do. ... (See Coping)

What the new credit card rules don't cover -- New credit card industry rules are the most significant in three decades, but they don't go far enough to protect consumers from credit card abuses, lawmakers and advocates say. Here's what's missing. ... (See New rules)

Federal banking agencies finalize new credit card regulations to take effect starting July 2010 -- Federal regulators approved the most sweeping credit card industry reforms in nearly three decades, limiting interest rate hikes on existing credit card balances, giving cardholders a reasonable amount of time to pay bills and requiring better disclosure of key credit card terms. ... (See Reforms)

Credit union regulator approves new credit card rules -- New rules will fundamentally change the way credit cards operate, but won't take effect until July 1, 2010. Consumer advocates say that's too long to help families struggling with debt in today's economy. ... (See Card rules)

Thrift group approves new credit card rules -- One of three federal regulatory agencies approves sweeping new credit card rules. Fed and credit union group expected to follow suit. ... (See Card rules)

Regulators will vote on new credit card rules -- The Federal Reserve Board will meet in Washington, D.C., this week to vote on sweeping new credit card industry regulations. ... (See Credit card regulations)

Fed: Delinquency rates edged downward in Q3 -- Credit card delinquencies were down and charge-offs up slightly during the third quarter of 2008, according to the latest banking industry figures released Tuesday by the Federal Reserve Board. ... (See Report)

Ruling: Prepaid stored-value cards qualify for $250,000 FDIC deposit insurance -- The FDIC has ruled that money held on prepaid or stored value cards can qualify for deposit insurance if banks set up the accounts. ... (See FDIC)

Credit card debt forgiveness? Forget about it, OCC says -- The Office of the Comptroller of Currency issued a response to a proposal to forgive some borrowers' credit card debts. No way, OCC says. The plan was supported by the banking industry and consumer groups. ... (See No way)

Latest bailout beneficiary: Treasury wants to jump-start stalled credit card securities market -- U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said regulators are considering a plan to boost investor confidence and help credit card asset-backed securities markets. ... (See Bailout)

How will the Obama administration affect your pocketbook? -- The 2008 election of Barack Obama as president was heralded by consumer advocates as harbinger for change. ... (See Obama)

Credit card securities facing difficult times -- Securitized credit card debt portfolios of major card issuers are experiencing greater losses as economy slows and job losses increase. ... (See Delinquencies)

Surveys say: Americans report cutting back spending, debt -- Recent polls conducted by three different groups echo "Taking Charge" survey: consumers are adapting to changing economy. ... (See Economy)

Credit card survey: They're not status symbols, they're just plastic -- Advertisements try to persuade us otherwise, but almost no one puts any weight in the brand or appearance of their credit cards, according to a new national survey. ... (See Branding)

PNC to acquire National City banking, credit card interests -- PNC Financial Services Group Inc. will acquire banking and credit card issuer National City in a deal to be finalized by year's end. ... (See Merger)

New America Foundation paper seeks to avert next financial crisis -- A new paper offers ideas for regulating credit card industry practices. ... (See Credit card regulations)

Senate committee to address credit card, bankruptcy measures -- The U.S. Senate Banking Committee may review key credit card industry and bankruptcy reform measures during November 2008 hearings. ... (See Senate)

Don't hide credit woes from children, family -- How much should you tell your children about your financial difficulties? Experts say parents should let children know when the family is facing hard times, and maybe get the kids to help out. ... (See Money woes and kids)

5 tips for those considering bankruptcy -- Bankruptcy experts, attorneys and consumer credit counselors offer advice to those thinking of filing for bankruptcy ... (See 5 basic bankruptcy tips)

Three years later, bankruptcy law fails to quash filings -- On the third anniversary of bankruptcy reform law, critics wonder how much bankruptcy filings will grow in economic downturn. ... (See Bankruptcy)

Auditor will review 650,000 Cap One credit card accounts to ensure money is returned -- Capital One must repay $340,000 to credit card users because the company collected old debts that had been discharged in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. ... (See Cap One)

Wachovia-Wells Fargo merger announced -- Four days after Citi announced a government-backed purchase of some Wachovia Bank assets, Wells Fargo Bank has announced a deal to merge with Wachovia. ... (See Wells Fargo)

What credit card users need to know to survive the 2008 credit crunch -- Experts advise credit card users to pay down credit card debt and wean themselves off of credit card spending. ... (See Cash only)

Citi acquires Wachovia -- FDIC and the Federal Reserve back Citi's purchase of Wachovia Bank's retail banking assets. ... (See Acquisition)

Pre-disaster financial preparedness checklist -- When natural disaster strikes, you have to react quickly to make sure your important financial records remain safe. This checklist will show you how ... (See Financial preparedness)

WaMu is largest bank failure ever -- JP Morgan Chase says people with WaMu credit cards and ATM cards should continue to use them and pay their bills on time to the same payment addresses. ... (See WaMu cards)

Treasury, Ad Council team up to promote credit smarts among young consumers -- New educational campaign targets younger consumers with the message: Take control of your credit and personal finances. ... (See Control your credit)

Pro-consumer credit card bill passes in U.S. House vote -- The U.S. House of Representatives voted 312-112 to pass a controversial bill that would give credit card users more consumer protections. ... (See House vote)

Key vote on Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights comes today -- The full U.S. House of Representatives is expected to consider the Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights bill today. ... (See Vote)

Credit card debt up, delinquencies down in Q2, report says -- Americans had more average credit card debt and delinquencies were down slightly during the second quarter of 2008. ... (See Q2 debt report)

Prepaid cards need safeguards against bank failures, groups say -- A coalition of consumer groups is asking for emergency provisions to protect funds held on prepaid debit cards. ... (See Prepaid debit protections)

American Express tops customer satisfaction chart in J.D. Power survey -- J.D. Power 2008 customer satisfaction survey ranks the top 18 credit card issuers. ... (See Satisfied)

Poll: Snooping and arguments go along with joint credit -- Sharing a credit card account? Expect arguments, snooping and maybe canceling a card, says a new poll. ... (See Strife)

Graphs: Snooping and arguments go along with joint credit -- Graphs of 'Taking Charge' survey on sharing credit card accounts. ... (See Snooping)

Taking Charge poll: Nearly 3 of 4 Americans favor government regulation of credit cards -- The second annual 'Taking Charge' survey says Americans mistrust but need credit cards. ... (See 2008 poll)

Taking Charge graphs: Nearly 3 of 4 Americans favor government regulation of credit cards -- Annual Taking Charge survey gauges attitudes about credit cards and lending. ... (more)

Even credit card purchases at home may now trigger 'international' fee -- Credit card purchases may be 'international,' even if you aren't. ... (See Not so foreign)

Key Congressional committee passes Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights -- The House Financial Services Committee voted along party lines to pass a bill to rein in the credit card industry. ... (See Credit card bill)

Proposed credit card rule changes draw massive public comment -- Consumers have turned out in force to support proposed Fed rules reining in the practices of credit card issuers. ... (See Credit card rules)

Poll: Credit card debt the new taboo conversation topic -- Religion, politics and sex, move over. Discussing credit card debt is the new taboo. People would rather talk about anything -- their weight, their health problems, the death of a loved one, even details of their love lives --- rather than talk about their credit card debt. ... (See credit card taboo)

Rent a car with debit card or cash? Expect to try harder -- A survey of 45 car agencies across the U.S. finds you can rent a car without a credit card, but you have to jump through more hoops. ... (See Car rental)

'Fee harvesting' credit cards -- Consumers should beware of cards that charge upfront fees and carry low limits. ... (See Fee harvesting credit cards)

Tips for choosing fee harvesting credit cards -- People with bad credit may have few options for getting a credit card. Experts advise doing a lot of research before signing up for fee harvesting credit cards. ... (See Fee harvesting credit cards)

Consumers could see refunds from $200 million for 'fee harvesting' credit cards -- Federal regulators are seeking $200 million in restitution for consumers from a major credit card marketer and two banks for how they marketed and issued subprime credit cards. ... (See Fee harvesting credit cards)

Credit card issuance a matter of black and white? -- Do all Americans really have equal access to credit cards or are some groups more likely to be granted credit than others? A study found where you live may play a key role in whether you're granted a credit card. ... (See Credit card approvals)

Poll: Gas prices causing people to cut visits to family, friends -- More than half of Americans say they've cut down on visiting family and friends due to gas prices, a poll reveals. ... (See Gas prices)

GAO report: Federal government pays massive credit card fees, too -- Just like gas station owners and other merchants, the federal government pays interchange fees for credit card and debit card transactions -- and its bill is huge, says a new GAO report. ... (See Interchange fees)

Free credit report and notice of potential interest rate hikes could be required in proposed new rules -- New proposed rules would require credit card issuers to send notices and provide free credit reports when consumers are subject to interest rate hikes based on credit reports. ... (See Credit card APRs)

Fed backs rules to curb deceptive credit card practices -- Federal banking regulators are taking unusual steps to protect consumers from unfair and deceptive trade practices in the credit card industry ... (See Credit card rules)

Credit card securities may be in for rough times ahead -- Securitized credit card receivables -- the fuel that drives credit card issuance for major banks -- may falter as credit card defaults rise. ... (See Credit card securities)

How credit card securities work -- Major credit card banks sell millions of accounts to special trusts that issue bonds repaid with monthly credit card payments from account holders. ... (See Credit card securities)

Auto gasoline cards: Compare gas cards -- reviewed terms and conditions for the top 29 gas credit cards and found more rewards, cash back, points and rebates -- and no annual fees. ... (See Gas cards)

Automobile gas cards popularity falls -- Fewer people are using one-company gas credit cards to buy gasoline for their cars. Drivers want the freedom to choose different gas and payment methods. ... (See Gas cards)

Q&A: Credit counselor urges consumer education -- Too few people know about or talk about debt, says the head of one of the major counseling accrediting agencies. ... (more)

Consumer credit woes mean boom in debt collection in 2010 -- If you've never been contacted by a debt collector before, chances are growing you will. Collection activity has increased sharply as the economy swoons, and it's more important than ever for consumers to know their rights. ... (See Debt collection boom in 2010)

Credit card spending increases for health care -- A poll found that nearly two out of three Americans say they or their family could face hard financial times if they experience a serious illness. ... (more)

Health care credit cards rise to fill insurance gap -- As the ranks of the uninsured soar and medical costs rise for those with insurance, a new generation of health care cards is emerging on the market, but not everyone is cheering their arrival. ... (more) poll results: Credit and health care costs -- A poll finds a majority of Americans realize that inability to pay their share of health care costs has the potential to wipe them out financially. ... (more)

15 tips for paying high medical bills -- Savvy consumers should comparison shop for payment options when paying for medical expenses. Here are some helpful tips to cope with high medical bills. ... (more)

Comparing health care credit options -- Credit card issuers are offering a growing number of options for financing medical expenses. Use this table to compare and find the best deal. ... (more)

Disclosures would increase on subprime credit card fees -- Subprime cards carry upfront fees that the Federal Reserve board contends are not clearly disclosed to customers. ... (more)

Regulation Z proposed changes for minimum payments -- Credit card companies and credit issuers would have to tell account holders how long it would take to repay loans if they make minimum payments. ... (more)

Regulation Z amendments would require changes in credit card terms -- Regulation Z amendments would require changes in credit card terms to be displayed in a table for easy reading. ... (more)

Rules for credit card periodic statement disclosures -- Under proposed federal rule changes, monthly credit card statements would include tables to clearly disclose fees, interest, purchases and other details. ... (more)

Credit card reform: The fine print of proposed changes to Regulation Z -- Regulation Z requires creditors to disclose all costs and terms before a new credit card's first use. However, according to the board, "Currently, there are few ... (more)

Regulation Z would require credit card APR disclosure rules -- Regulation Z would require credit card companies to clearly disclose APRs. ... (more)

Regulation amendments propose fixed rate credit cards -- Fixed credit card rates would actually be fixed under Regulation Z amendments. ... (more)

Reg Z proposes credit card notice of term changes to 45 days -- Changes in terms of credit card contracts would need 45 days' advance notice. ... (more)

'Regulation Z' overhaul to change credit card fine print rules -- The Federal Reserve Board has proposed the most sweeping changes in nearly 30 years to credit card disclosure rules, known as Regulation Z. ... (more)

Regulation Z: Feds move to change credit card rules -- The Federal Reserve Board is likely to decide on final credit card disclosure rules in 2008. ... (more)

How the public feels about Regulation Z proposed changes to credit card disclosure rules -- Comments from consumers, credit grantors, payment processors and others on proposed changes to credit card disclosure rules ... (more)

Poll: Millions will borrow to pay '08 winter heating bills -- Heating oil costs may exceed consumer budgets, leaving borrowing and credit cards as the only option for many families, a survey shows. ... (more)

Poll: Gas prices will make '08 economy sputter -- Americans' longstanding addiction to gasoline will continue well into 2008, despite rising fuel costs, and may contribute to a slowdown in the overall economy, a new poll reveals. ... (See Gas price survey)

Credit card industry: The Senate weighs in -- Is the credit card industry heading toward the same debacle as the subprime mortgage industry? If unfair and deceptive trade practices continue -- and more ... (more)

7 tips for paying winter heating bills -- Having a hard time paying astronomic heating bills? These 7 tips can help. ... (more)

High winter heating bills, meet credit cards -- With heating bills sky high, consumers will be tempted to use utilities' new credit card payment options. Should they? ... (See Pay high heating bills by credit card?)

Disaster preparedness: Using credit cards wisely after catastrophes -- These nine questions and answers will help you use credit and credit cards wisely after a catastrophe ... (See Financial FAQs)

Cardholders in Wildfire Stricken CA Aided by Banks -- Banks are working with victims of the California wildfires. Learn how at ... (more)

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Updated: 06-27-2019