Jan. 5, 2010 -- Here are some key facts about the Credit Card Act of 2009 that you should know.
Credit card companies are making many changes to their fees and policies to offset potential losses in revenue because of the new rules that go into effect next month.
Among the issuers' changes, according to "GMA's" personal finance contributor Mellody Hobson:
• Most companies have changed fixed-rate credit card APRs to variable rate APRs.
• Watch out for dormancy fees. These are fees that will be charged to customers who do not use their cards for a set period -- usually 12 months. For example, Fifth Third Bank introduced a $19 inactivity fee, even for cards with no balance.
• Expect rewards-program credit cards to cost more. If you have a rewards card that already carries an annual fee, the fee may go up, the reward amount may be reduced or the level of spending required to collect the reward may be increased.
• Keep a close watch on overdraft fees. These fees are a large source of revenue for banks. After February 22 -- when the Credit Card Act of 2009 goes into effect -- consumers must opt-in for this service, as opposed to being given the service automatically for a hefty fee. If you opt out and you make a transaction that exceeds your limit, the transaction will be declined. Consumers may opt-in at any time, and over-the-limit fees may only be applied once during a billing cycle.