Credit conundrum #2: Your credit limit got cut.
What you need to know: The fallout may not be as bad as you think. Your total amount of outstanding debt is only one factor used to determine your credit rating. If you pay on time, have a long credit history and haven’t opened a slew of new accounts recently, that all counts in your favor.
What changes with the new law: Banks will still be able to cut your limit. But if you’re close to being maxed out, the new law offers extra protection. If you try to charge something that will put you past your limit, you’ll get an “over limit” notification. You can then cancel the purchase and avoid getting dinged by an over-limit fee.
Take action: It’s unlikely you’ll get your limit raised again just by complaining. Work to pay off your balance. If you feel you need more credit for a rainy day, apply for another card. But be sure to tuck it away and, if you do rack up a balance, pay it off as soon as possible.
Credit conundrum #3: You paid late and got whacked with a fee.
What you need to know: Even if you’re a day overdue, you can get dinged with a late fee, which averages $25.90 and can run as high as $39
What changes with the new law: Late fees are still allowed, but new regulations help you avoid them. Banks are no longer allowed to bump up your rate if you’re late on another bill, such as a mortgage or utility bill. And the payment due date must be at least 21 days from the date the bill is sent (previously, it could be as little as two weeks).
Take action: If you missed a payment and were charged a late fee, call customer service. Chances are good that if you’ve always been on time, you can get the charge removed simply by asking. But if you’ve been late before, the fee will likely stand. Prevent it from happening again by noting the due date on your calendar when your bill arrives. And, if you pay bills through your online checking account, see if your bank offers a bill reminder service.