ATLANTA -- The second phase of the new federal credit card laws takes effect Monday, February 22. There are a lot of things you should know if you're a cardholder.
John Ulzheimer of Credit.Com shared some of his expertise on 11Alive Weekend Morning News.
Under terms of the new law, your credit card company can no longer raise your interest rate arbitrarily. It must provide 45-days advance notice of any interest rate increases or new fees.
Since the new laws will make it more difficult to impose over-the-limit fees, Ulzheimer said it's going to be important to keep a close eye on your bills. He told 11Alive's Valerie Hoff that credit card customers may be charged annual fees or new fees by credit card issuers trying to make up for lost revenue.
Others have already switched from a fixed rate to a variable rate. That's just another reason customers need to pay off their debt whenever possible.
Effective February 22, anyone under the age of 21 will need a co-signer to obtain a credit card, unless they have a job. Co-signers need to know that they are equally liable for the debt on the card and their credit could wind up at risk.
Another change in the credit card law deals with gift cards. They will retain full value for five years, unlike now, when their value can steadily diminish.
Ulzheimer said his best advice is to maintain good credit, shop around for the best deal and don't necessarily go with the biggest financial institutions. He said you may find better deals with smaller banks and credit unions, not to mention better customer service.
Watch the attached video for more information.