Payment Card News

California Steamin'

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Consumer groups in California are stewing after a group of credit card issuers successfully persuaded the U.S. District Court to grant a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the new minimum payment disclosure law that was scheduled to go into effect on July 1st. The injunction will block the law until a hearing in early November. The new law, Civil Code Section 1748.13, also known by legislation number AB 865, requires credit card issuers to show certain consumers the impact of making minimum payments. The California law requires credit card companies to disclose on customer bills the total costs and length of time it will take to retire credit card debt of $1,000, $2,500, and $5,000 if a consumer makes just the minimum payment. Consumers who make the minimum payment for six months will receive this information based on their exact outstanding balance. Credit card companies are also required to maintain a toll-free telephone number to call a “live” customer service representative so that individualized minimum payment information can be obtained. The new disclosure requirement was a compromise proposal signed into law after the financial industry lobbied Governor Gray Davis in 2000 to veto a stronger version of the bill that would have required credit card issuers to send minimum payment warnings to all cardholders. The lawsuit was filed by a group of major credit card issuers, including Citibank, who had a hand in crafting the compromise legislation last year.

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