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The Canadian government will introduce new credit card regulations before the end of this month, Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said last week without providing further details. Flaherty has complained that average credit card interest rates continue to be unacceptably high for consumers. Many Canadian banks charge interest rates on credit cards as high as 20% on outstanding balances. Canada's new credit card industry regulations could include a uniform 21-day interest-free period before payment is due and clearer disclosure of card rates and fees, observers say. Credit card interest rates are high because the economic downturn has caused credit card delinquency rates to soar, the Toronto-based Canadian Bankers Association says. Some 70% of Canada's credit card customers pay no interest because they typically do not revolve a monthly balance on their card accounts, the association says.

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