May 20 2009, 10:50 AM
The U.S. Senate's 90-5 vote to create an array of new protections for credit-card holders left Senator Mark Udall, who for years has fought for such changes, to claim "victory for consumers who play by the rules," reports the Denver Daily News. Udall and Senator Michael Bennet, both Democrats, supported the measure, which is meant to prevent credit card companies from doing shady things such as hiking interest rates without prior notice.
The banking industry, which for years has lobbied successfully against such changes, made it clear after yesterday's vote that it "won't go quietly along" with the reforms that must now be ironed out with a House version of the legislation, according to The Los Angeles Times, which writes that companies are threatening to raise fees and limit card availability in light of the bill.
Under the Senate bill, companies must provide written reasons for interest-rate increases 45 days in advance and adhere to guidelines for raising interest, among many provisions. Business groups, the Denver Business Journal notes, can't agree on whether the bill is good or not.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama seems inclined to sign it given his recent statement that consumers who sign up for credit cards should not have to worry that they are "signing away all [their] rights" (via The New York Times, which also provides an interesting consumer guide).