New federal regulations on the credit card industry should make it easier for consumers to understand their debt and help provide some extra protections.

The new rules, which took effect Monday, require companies to give better disclosure about interest rate changes. They also extend the time period for paying your monthly bill and make it harder for anyone under 21 to get a card.

However, Wisconsin Better Business Bureau President Ran Hoth says credit card companies have been making many changes in the months leading up to the regulations taking effect, which may have greatly changed your credit card.

For example, Hoth says those who make everyday purchases with a credit card to build up bonus points and frequent flyer miles, and then pay off the balance each month to avoid interest charges may no longer be able to do that. He says many companies have eliminated grace periods and are now charging interest right away.

Hoth says consumers need to read the fine print on the terms and conditions of their credit cards. The federal law allows card holders to protest changes. If you want to cancel the card, Hoth says you should have the option of paying off the balance under your old interest rate agreement.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:14)


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