The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 or Credit CARD Act of 2009 is a federal statute passed by the United States Congress and signed by President Barack Obama on May 22, 2009. It is comprehensive credit card reform legislation that aims "...to establish fair and transparent practices relating to the extension of credit under an open end consumer credit plan, and for other purposes." The bill was passed with bipartisan support by both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights was introduced in the 110th Congress as H.R. 5244 in the House of Representatives by Representative Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat from New York and the chair of the House Financial Services Committee's Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit. The bill had passed 312 to 112 but was never given a vote in the Senate.
In the 111th United States Congress the bill was reintroduced as H.R. 627 and on April 30, 2009, the House passed it, with a strong bipartisan basis, with 357 yes votes to 70 no votes. The Senate followed suit and passed an amended version on May 19 with 90 yes votes and 5 no votes. The House passed the amended bill the next day by a vote of 279 to 147 and it was signed into law by President Barack Obama on May 22, 2009.
The bill went into effect on February 22, 2010, nine months after it was enacted.
The Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights includes several provisions aimed at limiting how credit card companies can charge consumers but does not include price controls, rate caps, or fee settings.
Gun rights advocates in the Senate, led by Tom Coburn (R-Okla) added an unrelated rider to the bill to prevent the Secretary of the Interior from enforcing any regulation that would prohibit an individual from possessing a firearm in any unit of the National Park System or the National Wildlife Refuge System. The Senate passed the amendment 67-29.
This amendment overturns a Reagan-era policy prohibiting firearms from being carried in national parks. The George W. Bush administration had attempted to implement a similar policy through the rulemaking process just before leaving office, but the change was struck down by a federal judge. The provision has been heavily criticized by environmentalists, anti-gun groups, and park supporters, including the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, but it was applauded by gun rights groups.
The act was not expected to affect existing credit card contracts. However, the act that was passed applies to contracts made in the past by setting an effective date of February 22, 2010, which gave banks time to prepare and notify their customers. While it is a common criticism that the CARD Act led banks to raise interest rates and limit credit availability in response to its passage, studies by CardHub.com and the Center for Responsible Lending revealed that such trends were merely the result of economic pressures typical of a recession and not the law. Actually, according to these studies, historical economic data shows that the interest rate increase and decline in available credit seen during the Great Recession should have been worse considering the widespread unemployment, credit card delinquency and credit card charge-offs.
In a speech on the one-year anniversary of the CARD Act, Special Adviser Elizabeth Warren said that "much of the [credit card] industry has gone further than the law requires in curbing re-pricing and overlimit fees." However, she said there was still much work to be done, that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's "next challenges will be about further clarifying price and risks and making it easier for consumers to make direct product comparisons."
In 2012, many stay-at-home mothers complained that because they have no individual income, the act prevents them from acquiring credit cards without their husbands' permission. As of September 21, 2012, the CFPB announced that they would be making the change due to a petition on Change.org.
The bill was cosponsored by House Financial Services Committee chair Barney Frank and Representatives Maxine Waters, Luis Gutiérrez, Stephen Lynch, Keith Ellison, Steve Cohen, Chaka Fattah, Maurice Hinchey, Jim Langevin, Jerrold Nadler, Carol Shea-Porter, Hilda Solis, Peter Welch, Albert Wynn, Peter DeFazio, Charles Gonzalez, Gene Taylor, David Obey, Mazie Hirono, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Nancy Boyda, John Dingell, Corrine Brown, Bennie Thompson, Alcee Hastings, Yvette Clark, Jesse Jackson, Danny Davis, Kirsten Gillibrand, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Diane Watson, Michael Arcuri, Eliot Engel, John Tierney, Chris Van Hollen, George Miller, Jim Moran, Anthony Weiner, Neil Abercrombie, and Jan Schakowsky.