While the NDP in Canada is challenging the immoral usury of bank service charges and ATM charges, in the U.S. the Democrats in the Senate are also challenging the big bank oligopolies and the immoral usury charged on Credit Cards.
I hope in Canada the NDP will expand its challenge to the Banking Monopolies to include their collusion over credit cards, as well as service charges and ATM fees. Just as I would hope the Democrats in the Senate would expand their credit card investigation to also include service charges and ATM fees.
Credit cards have become a ubiquitous and indispensable part of the culture, with an estimated 640 million cards in Americans' wallets and more than $1.8 trillion charged on them in 2005. Many depend on them to pay their bills and buy groceries or gasoline. But consumer groups and other critics say that fees are excessive and that information provided to consumers is confusing.
A study by congressional investigators released in October found that fees for paying credit card bills late averaged $34, up from $13 in 1995, while some card issuers impose penalty interest rates of more than 30 percent on consumers who pay late or exceed the credit limit.
Among other practices cited at Thursday’s hearing:
_Some credit card issuers use a billing method that charges interest on credit card debt already paid by the consumer.
_The massive solicitations mailed to consumers _ an estimated 6 billion in 2005 _ and targeting of college students and the elderly.
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