WASHINGTON, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama said Monday that the credit card reform law in effect Monday would give U.S. consumers more power over their finances.
"Today, we are shifting the balance of power back to the consumer and we are holding the credit card companies accountable," Obama said in a brief statement commemorating the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act's first day.
The law was frequently criticized for giving the credit card industry nine months to make adjustments before the law took effect -- nine months in which basic rates were raised frequently to make up for profit opportunities the companies expected to lose.
The key provision in the new law is that "credit card companies can no longer retroactively increase rates or increase rates the first year you own an account," Obama said.
The law restricts underage credit card use, mandates certain information be made clear to consumers and prohibits "misleading late fees" and "over-limit fee traps" the president said.