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Putting a stop to credit card trickery?

Paying with credit

TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: Credit cards. Aren't they evil? A convenient, maybe even necessary evil, perhaps, but such a temptation. Here are the facts: 3 out of 5 credit cardholders carry a balance each month. Those households have an average of $13,000 on those cards. And not all of that debt is from the stuff they bought. That's why the Senate is holding a hearing today on the credit card industry's practices. Hillary Wicai reports.


HILLARY WICAI: Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren says credit cards are often the anchor that sinks the middle-class family.

She's one of several consumer advocates that will testify today that Congress needs to do more to regulate the credit card industry.

She says for starters, the average credit card agreement has gone from one page in 1980 to some that are more than 30 pages today.

ELIZABETH WARREN: There's no penalty in the marketplace for having the trickiest, trappiest credit card out there. If there's no real competition on safety, then credit card companies have a real interest in loading up fees, penalties in order to maximize their profits.

Warren says most other consumer products, from toasters to cars, have a comprehensive set of safety regulations.

The credit card industry will also be represented at the hearing by Capital One, JPMorgan Chase and Barclaycard.

In Washington, I'm Hillary Wicai for Marketplace.

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