SOURCE: A New Horizon

March 03, 2010 17:04 ET

Credit Card Interest Rates Increase -- Can Debt Consolidation Save You? Ask A New Horizon Credit Counseling, Inc.

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL--(Marketwire - March 3, 2010) -  A New Horizon may be the solution and help with Debt Management, Budget Management and Credit Counseling. A New Horizon Credit Counseling is a well established Credit Counseling company with over 15 years experience as a non-profit organization assisting individuals and families from all walks of life in both maintaining control and regaining control of their finances. 

With the new Credit Card Act in place what does this mean to consumers? Consumers may now see a return to annual credit card fees. Although the new Credit Card Law restricts certain fees, such as those charged for surpassing credit limits or paying credit cards late but there are plenty of other charges that remain fair game. We may start seeing credit cards ramp up additional fees. For instance, Fifth Third Bank last year began charging some cardholders $19 for not using their cards for 12 months. There is NO LIMIT to how high annual percentage rates can go. Some banks have raised interest rates to record levels weeks before the new laws went into effect.

According to CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report the national average interest rate on new credit card offers hit 14.62 percent. This increase in the interest rates was the highest since they started tracking in 2007. Six months ago the average was 12.7% and now it's 14.6%.

Not only are the banks raising rates to restore the profits they might be losing, they have also started changing some of their card products to variable rates from fixed rates. Many of the largest issuers, including Bank of America and Chase, switched their customers over to variable rate cards in 2009.

"The changes brought on by this new legislation are significant, and protective of the consumer, but they are worthless if the card holder fails to read and understand the notices, updates, and credit card offers they are receiving from their creditors daily," warned Steven Stark, General Counsel and COO of A New Horizon Credit Counseling Services in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

With banks trying to use every loophole they can find to help their bottom lines, it will be the consumer who will still suffer. If interest rates have already increased and annual fees are reinstated, how will the consumers get themselves out of the financial hole they may be in?

"If the consumer does not understand the changes to their credit card agreement, or has unmanageable debt they should speak with one of our individual certified consumer credit counselors who can help," added Mr. Stark.

A New Horizon Credit Counseling Services are all offered in the strictest of confidence by certified financial counselors whose goals are to assist you in becoming debt free. Contact Stuart Lieberman for more information on Debt Consolidation who may be reached at (800) 556-1548 Extension 1126 or at A New Horizon - http://www.anewhorizon.org for more information.

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