Some 75% of U.S. households said they are familiar with new credit card industry regulations President Obama signed into law earlier this year, but they are divided on the new rules’ effect, suggest the results of a recent survey from Maritz Inc.’s Maritz Research subsidiary. The firm surveyed 2,666 U.S. adults online Oct. 8 to 14 to measure awareness of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act, which will restrict many credit card industry practices when it goes into full effect Feb. 22. Asked to weigh the “expected impact” of the regulations, 50% said they expected to feel no impact, while 17% said they expected a negative impact and another 17% expected a positive impact. Some 6% foresaw “significant positive impact” while 4% expected a “significant negative impact.” Six percent were unsure of the new rules’ effect. Some 42% of respondents reported seeing recent interest-rate increases on their cards, while 29% reported the recent notification of higher minimum payments, 28% reported recent credit-line reductions, 22% reported the recent imposition of new or higher annual fees, and another 22% reported recent rewards-benefit reductions. Some 40% of respondents said they tended to pay their credit card bill in full each month, while 60% tended to carry a balance. “I was surprised that consumers’ familiarity with the new regulations was so high, given the fact that many credit card issuers are still contemplating changes they will make in response to the law,” Rich Brose, senior director of strategic consulting for Maritz’s financial services group, tells CardLine. “It’s too soon to tell what consumers will ultimately decide, but the early returns show contrasting viewpoints on its effect.” Among other provisions, the law requires issuers to give cardholders 60 days’ warning of any interest-rate changes and prevents issuers from raising cardholders’ interest rates on existing balances, except in certain conditions.

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