Page last updated at 19:44 GMT, Thursday, 23 April 2009 20:44 UK

Obama attacks credit card 'abuse'

President Obama after meeting with credit card industry
Mr Obama said he was aware of the problems many had with credit card firms

President Barack Obama has told the US credit card industry to scrap unfair interest rate hikes and to be more transparent and accountable.

He told bosses of 13 card issuers he wanted to keep the credit card market but to "eliminate some of the abuses".

Politicians have expressed anger that many of the banks issuing credit cards with high fees are the same banks that have received government bailout money.

Banks say tighter rules would reduce income at a difficult time for them.

Penalties

"We're confident we can arrive at something that is common-sensical," President Obama said after the White House meeting, which included executives from Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Citigroup.

"We want to preserve the credit card market but we also want to do so in a way that eliminates some of the abuses and some of the problems that a lot of people are familiar with.

"The days of any time, any reason rate hikes have to stop."

The meeting came a day after a House of Representatives bill to limit credit card fees and curb levels of penalties was given clearance by a key panel.

The legislation - branded the Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights - would stop credit card issuers from imposing arbitrary interest rate increases and penalties.



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