Consumer Protections Available
Liability for Unauthorized Transactions
Your liability for losses is limited to a maximum of $50 if your credit card is lost or stolen, although industry practices may further limit your losses.
The maximum liability is $50 if you notify the bank within two business days after discovering an unauthorized transaction. But if you notify your bank after those first two days, you could lose up to $500, or perhaps much more.
Liability depends on the type of funds on the card. If the card is a payroll card, then the liability rules are the same as for debit cards. But if the card is a general purpose reloadable card or a gift card, then there are no protections to limit your liability under federal law.
Credit card solicitations must disclose certain information, including the annual percentage rate (APR), variable rate, penalty rate, fees, and other transaction charges.
Banks must disclose any fees associated with using the debit card as well as its error resolution process.
Disclosures depend on the type of card. For example, payroll cards must disclose any fees and the error resolution process, but a GPR card does not have any disclosure requirements. In addition, gift cards must disclose the terms of dormancy fees, whether there is an expiration date, and any other associated fees.
Credit card issuers must provide a periodic statement for each billing cycle where the account balance is $1 or more at the end of that cycle or where interest has been charged.
Banks must provide a statement for each monthly cycle in which a transaction has occurred. If there have been no transactions, then a statement must be sent quarterly.
Payroll cards must provide either a periodic statement or account balance by telephone as well as electronic transaction history. GPR cards and gift cards do not have periodic statement requirements under federal law.
Change in Terms
Credit card issuers must provide 45 days notice before making significant changes to the account, such as the interest rate or fees charged.
Banks must provide 21 days notice before making changes to fees charged or the liability limits for unauthorized transactions.
Payroll cards must provide 21 days notice before making changes to fees charged or the liability limits for unauthorized transactions. GPR cards and gift cards are not required to do so under federal law.
Interest Rate and Fee Limits
Generally, credit card issuers cannot increase the annual percentage rate (APR) or fees within the first year of account opening (although there are some exceptions to this rule). Card issuers must also reevaluate any interest rate increase every 6 months.