When Can a Credit Card Company Raise My Interest Rates?

The credit card industry is loosely regulated. There are certain laws in place to protect consumer rights. However the fees, APR and promotional offers are set purely at the credit card company’s discretion. That means, whenever they feel like it your interest rates can be increased. It may seem unfair, but it is the way it is.

Perhaps you were late on a payment? Or you have not used your card recently? Maybe you moved to a new area? Perhaps you just decided to start charging incidentals like groceries ad gasoline? Any of those reasons have been used to increase the interest rates of unsuspecting customers.

New rules have recently been put in affect to help some people who have been taken by surprise by a rate increase. Once a balance is on a card, a credit card company cannot raise the rates on that balance. However, they can raise the rates on future purchases added to the account at any time.

Additionally, consumers will now benefit from longer notification periods for rate increases. Until the recent changes, credit card companies only needed to provide you with 15 days warning on an impending rate increase. Legally they are now required to provide you with 45 days notice.

Since you are truly at the mercy of the whims of the credit card company raising your interest rates, the only thing you can do is try to work within their system. Make sure to open all the mail from your charge company regarding your account. Review the information carefully.

If you find that a rate increase is looming on your horizon, give the card issuer a call and state your case. If they refuse to budge on the increase, tell them you plan on transferring your business elsewhere. If the credit card company still does not respond to that, make good on your promise and comparison shop for a better interest rate and start using the new card instead.