Why It May Not Pay to Use Your Charge Card in the New Year

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This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," January 1, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

STUART VARNEY, GUEST HOST: The new year bringing another round of massive changes to credit card rules. People still digesting the first round. Many people with good credit history saying those rules are bad news for them.

What is the next round going to do?

Financial planner Paula Albertson is here to explain.

Let me get this straight. We do have new rules on credit cards and charges and all the rest of it. They're going to take effect shortly. Are you saying that people with good credit, those who tend to pay off their bill at the end of the month in full, they are going to be paying for everybody else? They get hurt? Is that what you are saying?

PAULA ALBERTSON, CEO, ALBERTSON FINANCIAL GROUP: That's what I'm saying, Stuart, is that they are absolutely going to be hurt. And they are put in the same boat as the people that are non-credit-worthy. And the American public is up in arms about this.

VARNEY: So, well, let me see. I have got a list here. They are going to be paying — good-credit people, they get hurt...


VARNEY: ... because they might pay the higher annual fees. They will get hit with that. Their credit limit will be cut down a little, do you think?

ALBERTSON: Possibly.

VARNEY: And reducing those rewards programs?


I think that, first of all, credit — annual credit fees will go up for everyone across the board. So, you should be getting those notices right now. Also, their limits might be cut, so be careful. When you're calling, we might want to talk about that.

And, then, also, we're going to see reward programs pulled back. And everyone likes to put things on credit cards, as we just heard, in the holiday season. Well, I think the credit card companies kind of turned out to be the Grinch that stole Christmas.

VARNEY: If I'm not mistaken, they have already cut back on your credit limit for — for millions of people. That's been reduced significantly. I think that's happened already.

ALBERTSON: Absolutely.

VARNEY: And you — that is going to continue? More of that to come?

ALBERTSON: I believe that that is going to continue, Stuart. And one of the things that I want to caution people about is calling your credit card person, or calling your credit card company. Be very cautious. Build a rapport with that person.

And, also, don't start feeding them information that you don't want to feed them. For instance, if you have been terminated from your job and they start asking questions, by all means, do not volunteer that information to them.

VARNEY: No, absolutely, don't go near that one. That's true.

Reducing rewards programs, now, a lot of people that I know, they love to charge, because you get frequent flier miles or you get some kind of reward, some kind — a rewards program. Are you saying that those will be less generous in the future?

ALBERTSON: I am. Yes, I believe that those will be less generous.

For instance, on my credit card, I noticed that I'm not receiving rewards any longer. And I probably better not mention that credit card company, or I might not have that credit card tomorrow. But the big thing, Stuart, is that these banks and these credit card companies are the ones that took a lot of bailout money.

And, unfortunately, this would have been a feather in the cap for this administration. This is a great act, but they didn't act quickly enough to put this into action. And we know that that starts next month. The new year is today. It starts next month.

So, we gave the credit cards too much time. And I think the administration should have acted a little bit faster.

VARNEY: You don't like these credit card companies, do you?

ALBERTSON: No, I don't like these credit card companies.

In your previous segment, I think that she made a good point, that thrift is back, cash is king, although cash can be criminal, because interest rates are low. And you all just did a show about mortgage interest rates going up.

VARNEY: But I have got to say, credit is very convenient. It's so much easier...

ALBERTSON: Oh, absolutely.

VARNEY: ... to be able to plunk down the plastic. It is much easier. It's very, very convenient. And those rewards programs, they really help. I think there is a price to be paid for that.

ALBERTSON: There is a price to be paid for that, Stuart. And, unfortunately, credit-worthy people are very upset about that. They don't want the rewards to be taken back.

So, we're going to see a shift from those credit cards, possibly to the debit card. But be careful again, because then the debit card companies are going to start charging fees. For goodness sake, I looked at my debit card, and they charge me a quarter to do a debit card every single time.

VARNEY: I think what will get people really upset is when the people with good credit, those who pay off everything at the end of the month, they never borrow anything, if they get hit, if they have to subsidize those people who borrow constantly, that will create a ruckus.

ALBERTSON: You hit the nail on top of the head, Stuart, is those people are going to stop using their credit cards.

And you know that interest is the thing that is the gift that keeps on giving to those credit card companies. And if they are not receiving that interest, then they're not going to like that, are they?

VARNEY: That's a rule, and I know it well. Paula Albertson, thank you very much for joining us. We appreciate it. Happy new year to you.

ALBERTSON: Happy new year to you, Stuart.

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