WASHINGTON -- In a move which some have criticized as too little, too late and self-serving, the American Bankers Association has rolled out a guide that it hopes will help consumers better understand their credit cards and better evaluate credit card offers.
The ABA said that the "Guide to Credit Cards" is designed to help cardholders and applicants better understand the specifics of credit card use, improve their ability to successfully benefit from credit card ease and convenience.
The guide addresses topics such as different annual percentage rates and how they work; what are grace periods and how best to use them; how payments are allocated to existing balances and how a consumer can choose the best card for their needs.
The guide also covers late payments and minimum payments, while offering important tips for consumers to help them successfully manage their credit and avoid financial hazards.
"Credit cards empower consumers by allowing them to safely and securely make purchases without having the risk of carrying large amounts of cash," said Nessa Feddis, ABA senior federal counsel. "Ensuring consumers are able to make informed decisions about their credit card activity is a paramount responsibility for card providers. This guide provides an overview of the crucial fundamentals that everyone with a credit card should know."
Critics pointed out the practices discussed in the brochure have more to do with the way banks manage credit card accounts rather than with how credit unions manage those accounts.