In May, President Obama signed the Credit CARD Act into law, promising to safeguard consumers from abusive practices like "any time for any reason" increases on existing balances and over-limit fees for approved transactions.
That, however, doesn't mean you can now use your plastic liberally.
Credit card companies are already finding new ways to get rich at your expense, all while racing to increase penalties and other charges before February, when the new rules go into effect.
"The credit card act means that issuers stand to lose some potential revenue, and issuers have been trying to come up with additional ways to make up for that," says Bill Hardekopf, CEO of LowCards.com, which rates credit cards and tracks industry practices.
That's happening in two ways, says Josh Frank of the Center for Responsible Lending, which studies abuses practices by credit card issuers. First, credit card issuers are "sneaking in last-minute price changes after the law was passed but before it takes effect." Second, they are "experimenting with new ways to create hidden price increases even after the new law takes effect."