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Bloomberg reports that the US Senate continues to work on legislation that would have an impact on how credit card companies do business in the US, with some expectations that a “bill of rights” measure could be passed today, requiring “lenders to apply payments to balances with the highest interest rates first,” prohibiting the increasing of “a consumer’s rate on existing balances based on late payments to another lender, a practice known as ‘universal default,’,” and requiring “credit-card companies to give 45 days’ notice before increasing an interest rate.”

Meanwhile, the Senate rejected a proposal that would have capped credit card interest rates at 15 percent.

The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) yesterday issued a statement praising legislation that would eliminate credit card interchange fee abuses. The legislation, titled The Credit Card Interchange Fees Act 2009 (H.R. 2382), empowers the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate credit card rules and practices that inflate interchange fees and eliminate those deemed anti-competitive. The bill, according to FMI, would “prohibit higher fees for premium credit cards, such as rewards, corporate or internationally issued cards,” “eliminate card company rules that effectively prevent retailers from offering discounts to consumers who use less costly payments, such as cash, checks and cards with lower interchange fees,” “outlaw the Honor All Cards rule, allowing retailers not to accept credit cards that have especially high fees,” and “require full disclosure of interchange and other merchant fees and credit card company rules to the Federal Reserve and public.”

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