A Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) release Monday featured tips for consumers on navigating new credit card and mortgage rules, and how best to utilize bank reward programs.
The summer issue of the newsletter FDIC Consumer News alerted customers about the restrictions imposed by the credit card law enacted in May. Some requirements, including that issuers now give borrowers 45 days notice before a rate increase, became effective Aug. 20.
Along with that notice, issuers also "inform consumers of their right to cancel their card before the rate increase or account changes take effect," the newsletter said.
The issue also highlighted recent regulations — most of which were drafted by the Federal Reserve Board — meant to help consumers get the right mortgage. Among the changes are provisions intended to prevent inflated appraisals, ensure borrowers can repay their loans and provide consumers with better disclosure about terms and hidden costs.
The article on reward programs urged consumers not to use rewards as the chief reason for opening an account.
"If you end up choosing between two accounts with similar terms and features that both meet your needs, it's fine for the rewards to be the deciding factor," the newsletter said. The story quoted Mira Marshall, an FDIC section chief for consumer issues, who warned, "But don't let rewards alone tempt you into signing up for an account."