FEEDBACK

Regulating Credit Cards

October 10, 2008 • Volume 18, Issue 35
Are tougher regulations needed to protect consumers?
By Marcia Clemmitt

Introduction

About 80 percent of U.S. households have credit cards, and credit debt averages $10,000. Rising personal debt has prompted increasing calls for more protection for consumers.  (Getty Images/Scott Barbour)
About 80 percent of U.S. households have credit cards, and credit debt averages $10,000. Rising personal debt has prompted increasing calls for more protection for consumers. (Getty Images/Scott Barbour)

As home refinancing dries up as a source of cash for many Americans, credit card debt is rising faster than ever. Seeking to protect consumers from serious debt trouble, Congress is discussing the first significant legal restraints on credit card issuers imposed in many years — and possibly the toughest ever. The banking industry argues that most people don't get into severe financial distress from credit card spending and that a crackdown on fees and other bank practices could dry up the consumer credit that drives the economy. But some consumer advocates say that the approximately 35 million households behind in payments or over their credit limits demonstrate that tough action is needed — including caps on interest rates. Meanwhile, some economists warn that increasing the earning power of working-class families is the only long-term solution to consumer credit woes.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Credit and Consumer Debt
Jul. 20, 2012  Debt Collectors
May 17, 2011  Future of the Euro
Oct. 10, 2008  Regulating Credit Cards
May 09, 2008  Financial Crisis
Mar. 02, 2007  Consumer Debt
May 26, 2006  Teen Spending
Nov. 19, 1999  The Consumer Culture
Nov. 15, 1996  Consumer Debt
Sep. 13, 1985  America in Debt
Jan. 25, 1980  Consumer Debt
Apr. 11, 1975  Consumer Credit Economy
Jan. 12, 1972  Directions of the Consumer Movement
Nov. 10, 1965  Personal Debt in a Consumer Economy
Jan. 02, 1957  Tight Credit
Feb. 10, 1956  Consumer Credit
Mar. 30, 1949  Installment Credit
Aug. 09, 1941  Restriction of Consumer Credit
Jan. 28, 1941  The Big Business of Making Small Loans
Jan. 17, 1934  Federal Credit Aid for Consumers
Jan. 01, 1930  Installment Buying, 1920–1930
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Consumer Credit and Debt
Regulation and Deregulation
FEEDBACK

Your Email Address

Subject

Provide Feedback

Suggest a topic here.

Type the characters you see below into the box

Take our survey to help us improve CQ Researcher!