Action Line: Know your cards for savvy payment
BY PHIL MULKINS World Action Line Editor
Sunday, November 11, 2012
11/11/12 at 6:35 AM
Dear Action Line: Please explain the difference between credit cards, debit cards, prepaid cards and gift cards. I'm sure they all have their own little rules, but I can't explain these to my college kids. - S.K., Broken Arrow.
The rules have changed in the world of credit, debit, prepaid and gift cards and consumer education group Consumer Action announced its formation of KnowYourCard.org to help consumers get a handle on new laws and other changes regarding plastic payments.
It has been three rapidly changing years for plastic payment cards:
Longtime litigation between merchants and payment card processors is moving toward settlement, which will pave the way for merchant surcharging of credit products.
- The Credit CARD Act revolutionized consumer protections for credit cards.
- New rules apply to gift cards and debit card overdrafts.
- Debit card merchant "swipe fees" have been capped.
- Minimum purchase requirements for credit card purchases are allowed.
Consumers must learn how the new rules and regulations will influence their payment choices. KnowYourCard.org is designed to help consumers understand what's changed and what those changes mean in practical terms so they can make smart decisions about where to shop and how to pay.
"It's a new landscape for plastic payment cards," said Linda Sherry, director of national priorities for Consumer Action. "We want to help consumers remain in control of payments processes and make the choices best for them and their families."
KnowYourCard.org's home page presents key changes, explains how they could affect cardholders and offers tips to help consumers make the right moves. Sidebar links to the site's At-a-Glance Card "Rulebook" provide more detailed information and an overview of changes for each type of payment card.
Finally, a search box allows consumers to access an extensive database of questions and answers and find what they are looking for fast. Visitors can access the Q&As by using the search box or by browsing Q&As by category or even by asking Consumer Action a question through a form on the site. They can then rate the Q&As, and their ratings will provide feedback on how helpful the answers are.
Consumer Action believes an educated consumer is a savvy consumer. Through multilingual financial education materials, Web-based resources, community outreach and issue-focused advocacy, Consumer Action empowers underrepresented consumers nationwide to assert their rights in the marketplace and financially prosper.
KnowYourCard.org is a financial literacy project of Consumer Action and Visa Inc.
Original Print Headline: Know your cards for savvy payment
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