Congress overwhelmingly passed legislation to rein in credit card interest rates and fees—the largest overhaul of consumer-borrowing rules in decades. The bill would largely bar credit card issuers from raising interest rates until a borrower is at least 60 days past due, and would require the rate to be restored if payments were on time for six months. It would also bar penalties on borrowers who exceed their credit limit, unless the borrower had agreed to the fees.
Companies warned that the legislation could force banks to issue fewer credit cards, and that credit would be harder to come by. But consumer advocates say that underhanded credit card tactics helped contribute to the current economic woes, as companies lured customers with easy credit before jacking up rates and fees. President Obama said he would sign the measure before the end of the Memorial Day weekend.