"Any effort to restore confidence in our economy must start not on Wall Street but in Main Street, and that's what the credit card situation is all about."
-- Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic Majority Leader, speaking before a Senate vote on Tuesday that put new restrictions on the credit card industry. The bill is supposed to make card terms more explicit and be fairer to customers, providing safeguards against rate increases and late fees.
The vote did not cap interest rates, so the card-issuers can continue to raise them. This is exactly what banks including American Express (AXP), Citigroup (C), Bank of America (BAC) are doing as they cut risky cardholders from their rosters. The banks may also look at adding other fees back in and cutting rewards programs. So while the bill may spell relief for some consumers, those who regularly pay off their card balances may lose out. Three words: no more miles. --Jessica Shambora
Bank-industry analyst Meredith Whitney, one of FORTUNE's Most Powerful Women and the subject of our cover story last summer, is all over the place this week. An op-ed, "Credit Cards are the Next Credit Crunch," in today's Wall Street Journal presents a dreadful outlook for consumer spending. She says that she's upped her estimate for how much banks will yank credit lines to consumers--by $2 trillion this year and a MOREPatricia Sellers - Mar 10, 2009 3:45 PM ET
Two of the best stocks in the universe this year have been MasterCard (MA) and Visa (V). MasterCard went public in May 2006 and has rocketed from its offering price, $39 a share, to $231. That's a six-fold increase. Visa, which scored the biggest IPO in history last March, has seen its stock rise from $44 to $73.
Ironic, isn't it, that these two companies are sailing along when so many MOREPatricia Sellers - Aug 13, 2008 1:00 PM ET
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