March 20, 2008

Wyden meets with SOU students, administrators about credit card debt, discusses legislation to help consumers cope with hidden fees and penalties

Ashland, Ore. -- U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) met with college students and administrators at Southern Oregon University on Thursday to learn more about credit card solicitations and rising student debt and to discuss his credit card rating legislation.

The meeting follows the recent introduction by Senator Wyden of the Credit Card Safety Star Act that will rate credit card applications based on how easy they are to understand. The bill is being co-sponsored by Illinois Senator Barack Obama.

"Credit card companies like to advertise cards with low rates and no fees," Wyden said, "but what some hide in the fine print is that their rates can skyrocket and a whole host of fees can kick in."

"I'm introducing the Credit Card Safety Star Act because I believe credit card companies should have to compete on the quality and safety of their cards and not on their ability to trick consumers into signing agreements with early deadlines and arbitrary rules buried in the fine print," he said.

The bill would direct the Federal Reserve to create a credit card safety star rating system that will demonstrate the safety of certain terms in every credit card agreement on a scale of one to five stars. The purpose of the star rating is to increase the transparency and understandability of the risks associated with credit card contract terms.

In his meeting at SOU, Wyden heard first hand from students and financial aid administrators about the realities of credit card solicitations and credit card debt in an era of rising tuition and other costs.