DURHAM, N.C. — The Center For Responsible Lending, an affiliate of the $301 million Self-Help Credit Union, has issued two reports highly critical of mainstream credit card practices which bank card issuers will have to abandon as of July 2010.

The reports, entitled "Priceless or Just Expensive? The Use of Penalty Rates in the Credit Card Industry" and "What's Draining Your Wallet? The Real Cost of Credit Card Cash Advances", detail widespread practices that deceive and abuse consumers, the Center said.

These include the use of penalty repricing-raising a cardholder's APR for a late payment received, for example, after one day-and the unfair allocation of payments by applying them to lowest-interest balances first. They have also generally not been practices used by many CUs.

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