How often can the bank change the rate on my credit card account?

If your account has a variable rate, the rate is tied to an index that can change.  The bank can change your rate periodically when the index changes.  Your account agreement will explain when changes to your variable rate can occur.

If your account does not have a variable rate, there are important limits on when your rate can change.  If you opened your account on or after February 22, 2010, the bank generally cannot change your rate during the first year after the account was opened.  After the first year, the bank can change your rate, but it has to give you 45 days notice in writing before the change takes effect.  And the new rate will only apply to transactions that occurred more than 14 days after the notice was provided.

There are exceptions to the general rule.  For instance, if you agreed to an introductory rate that ends after at least six months or if you are more than 60 days late in making a required payment, the bank can increase the rate that applies to your existing balances and new transactions.

If you opened your account before February 22, 2010, the bank does not have to wait 12 months after your account is opened to raise your rate for new transactions.  But it still has to give you 45-days advance notice in writing before the rate change goes into effect. 

Be sure to review your account agreement, which is the contract governing your credit card account. It provides information on changes that may occur to your account.

March 2010