Shoppers, beware of credit Grinch on aisle three

Columbus-area shoppers should be wary of the Grinch who just might steal Christmas by hiking credit-card rates, adding new fees and lowering spending limits in advance of new federal regulations taking effect in February, financial executives and experts say.

“There’s no question that many credit card companies are using the long implementation time before new regulations go into effect to gouge consumers,” said Lauren Browne, staff attorney with Consumers Union, a Washington-based consumer watchdog organization that publishes Consumer Reports online and via magazine.

Consumers Union recently urged the Federal Reserve to take action to stop card issuers from implementing radical changes in existing customer agreements before the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act takes effect Feb. 22.

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