Higher Rates and Fewer Perks for WA Consumers?

Fees and interest rates are likely to go up, says McKenna, as the credit industry scrambles to stay profitable, and avoid a meltdown like the mortgage business.

"The credit card companies and the banks were pushing credit cards to more and more people of limited means, people with riskier credit. Everybody’s been subsidizing that lending, to the extent that people haven’t been paying their credit card debts back. So, it’s a lot like what happened in the mortgage market."

McKenna says it’s a good time to sit down with credit card statements and contracts; read them carefully, and decide which ones you don’t need. The Attorney General’s office handles hundreds of inquiries about credit card agreements, although it is unclear what role states will play in enforcing these new federal rules. The AG’s Consumer Protection Division is at 800-551-4636.