Credit card issuers can’t increase interest rates on existing balances except in certain situations:
· A promotional interest rate has expired. The credit card issuer must have notified you before the start of the promotional rate how long the promotional rate would last and what the interest rate would be when the promotional rate expired. Promotional rates must last at least six months.
· Your credit card has a variable interest rate that the credit card issuer doesn’t control and can be easily viewed by the general public.
· You finished a hardship program or had a hardship program cancelled. The increased interest rate can’t be higher than what it was before you started the program. Additionally, you must have been notified before the start of the program what the interest rate would be if the program was completed or cancelled.
· You were more than 60 days late on your minimum credit card payment. If your interest rate increases because of late payments, you should receive a notice when the interest rate increases letting you know why the rate increased. If you make your minimum payment on time for the next six months, your card issuer is required to lower your interest rate.
No Rate Increases on New Accounts
If you open a new credit card account, your card issuer cannot raise your interest rate within the first 12 months of your account, except in the situations described above.
Rate Increases Must Be Reviewed Bi-Annually
After an interest rate has been increased, the credit card issuer must review the account every six months to determine whether the rate can be lowered. If the factors that first triggered the interest rate increase have changed, the card issuer must lower the interest rate.