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Lessons learned

Federal regulators on Thursday adopted sweeping new rules for the credit card industry that will shield consumers from increases in interest rates on existing account balances among other changes.

The rules, which take effect in July 2010, will allow credit card companies to raise interest rates only on new credit cards and future purchases or advances, rather than on current balances, the Associated Press reported.

When I was in college, I wasn’t as fiscally responsible as I probably should have been and at the time, credit cards were awesome. They were awesome until the middle of the next month when the bill came.

On or around the 15th of each month I would take a look at my paycheck as I mailed most off it off to pay off a credit card balance.

I guess that’s a lesson best learned the hard way but as I look back on my college days, I can remember countless billboards littered with “low interest” offers and “no annual fees.” In the hands of your average college student, a credit card can be a dangerous thing. I was lucky in that I knew how much money I made and opted to spend all of it. No more. No less.

Still, I know several other people whose credit is still trying to recover because they didn’t read the fine print. Those may be best learned the hard way but they can be hard to learn.