Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., will introduce legislation to cap the annual percentage rate of credit cards at 18%, RealClearPolitics reported. The average APR, by most estimates, now hovers near the 24% mark.
“Americans are being crushed under the weight of record credit card debt,” Hawley said just weeks after the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported that national household credit card debt had hit the historic $1 trillion milestone, RealClearPolitics reported.
“The government was quick to bail out the banks just this spring,” he continued, referencing the now-liquidated Silicon Valley Bank of California and Signature Bank of New York, “but has ignored working people struggling to get ahead.”
Setting rates on credit cards would be a “fair” and “common-sense” way to give “the working class a chance,” he added.
When Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., introduced the Loan Shark Prevention Act in 2019 to cap credit card APR at 15%, the bill languished in committee without a vote in the Senate.
The White House wants to slash credit card late fees, but Hawley’s proposal would go much further than anything proposed by the administration, RealClearPolitics noted.
“We have a long history in this country of statutes, at the state and a federal level, that prevent what we used to call usury — an old-fashioned word for ripping off working people,” Hawley told said in defense of his proposal, “and we need to get back to it.”
But there are headwinds.
“His bill has little chance of making it to Biden’s desk, but there are signs that the Grand Old Party, historically chummy with corporations, may now be chilling toward industry,” RealClearPolitics reported.
According to Lendingtree.com, most credit card issuers don’t offer one APR rate to everyone. “Issuers offer a range of possible rates based on whether you have good or bad credit. The better your credit, the lower the rate you can typically expect. But that’s not guaranteed as issuers consider various factors when approving you for a new card account.”
A credit card interest rate is a moot point if you pay your bill every month since interest never has the chance to accrue, lendingtree.com noted.
“Unfortunately, that’s not the reality for most Americans,” it reported. “The truth is that 2022 was a brutal year for credit cardholders, 2023 hasn’t been much better, and the bad news on interest rates isn’t likely to stop coming anytime soon.”
Peter Malbin ✉
Peter Malbin, a Newsmax writer, covers news and politics. He has 30 years of news experience, including for the New York Times, New York Post and Newsweek.com.
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