A U.S. Senate Committee will open a hearing today to explore the business practices of the U.S. credit card industry as consumers groups are chomping at the bit to have their say. The consumer groups want Congress to crack down on card issuers by using more sound underwriting principles; restrict youth lending; ban retroactive rate increases; ban universal default policies; ban pre-dispute binding mandatory arbitration; end roll-over or repeat late and over-limit fees; and toughen “Truth In Lending Act” penalties. The platform also calls for enhanced disclosure and an end to misleading or confusing credit card offers. Meanwhile, the American Bankers Association says credit cards give consumers a product that offers unparalleled convenience and safety from fraud, at an extremely low cost. The ABA says the industry is working with regulators to improve diclosures. Also, that credit card interest rates have decline, access to credit has increased and consumer debt, as a percentage of income, has remained constant. The U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs hearing is titled “Examining the Billing, Marketing, and Disclosure Practices of the Credit Card Industry, and Their Impact on Consumers.” Among witnesses to testify today: Professor Elizabeth Warren of Harvard Law School; Robert Manning, author of Credit Card Nation; Michael Donovan, an attorney with Donovan and Searles; John Finneran of CapitalOne; Richard Vague, CEO of Barclaycard U.S.; Carter Franke, EVP of JP Morgan Chase; Tamara Draut of Demos; and Travis Plunkett of the Consumer Federation of America. The “Joint Credit Card Reform Platform” was created by ACORN, the Center for Consumer Finances, Consumer Action, Consumers Union, the Consumer Federation of America, Demos, the National Association of Consumer Advocates and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. For hearing information, visit “http://banking.senate.gov/index.cfm?Fuseaction=Hearings.Detail&HearingID=246”:http://banking.senate.gov/index.cfm?Fuseaction=Hearings.Detail&HearingID=246.