Best friend a credit card user ever had

'Everyone has a credit card horror story,' says Rep. Maloney, who has become a sworn enemy of card issuer shenanigans.

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By Donna Rosato, Money Magazine senior writer

carolyn_maloney.03.jpg
Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York introduced the Credit Cardholder's Bill of Rights in 2008.

(MONEY Magazine) -- "From the floors of Congress to the people in my district, everyone has a credit card horror story," says Rep. Carolyn Maloney. Such stories helped make this New York Democrat the sworn enemy of arbitrary interest rate hikes, excessive fees, misleading terms, and other shenanigans.

Thanks in part to Maloney's efforts (she introduced a Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights in 2008), the Fed passed new regulations last year banning card issuers' most egregious practices.

But the new rules don't take effect until July 2010 - so she has introduced a bill that would require them to kick in much faster, plus limit other damaging moves, such as targeting minors.

With the support of heavy-hitters like Rep. Barney Frank, the bill has a good chance of passing. (It will probably come up for a vote this spring.) "There's tremendous momentum for making these changes now," Maloney says.

Don't doubt her. After all, she's the reason ATMs have to warn you before charging a fee (she wrote that law in 1999). Next up: legislation requiring you to be notified when a purchase with a debit or ATM card would trigger an overdraft fee.

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