"Granny," star of three videos posted on creditcardrevolt.com , takes a large sticky note declaring "Stand Up to the Rich Bankers" and slaps it onto>"/>
"Granny," star of three videos posted on creditcardrevolt.com, takes a large sticky note declaring "Stand Up to the Rich Bankers" and slaps it onto a Bank of America ATM. She turns to the camera: "I've never posted a flyer in my entire life," she announces. "It's my first time, that makes me a flyer-postin' virgin! Woohoo!"
Getting past the instant-cringe that results from the word "virgin" exiting an octogenarian's mouth, you might start seeing the flyers when you go to your own bank. Granny is the mascot for the Seattle-based Credit Card Holders United, which launched a campaign this month calling for strict regulations of the credit card industry.
The flyers are protesting new credit card company rules passed by Congress last year (along with an unrelated amendment allowing guns in National Parks). Companies must stop having payment deadlines at noon and other fee traps, give you at least 21 days to pay bills, and simplify the long contracts you sign.
The reason Credit Card Holders founder John Tuttle is protesting the reforms, he says by phone, is that in his mind they don't go far enough.
Tuttle wants interest rates capped at 15 percent and for rates to be printed on the cards themselves. He explains on his Web site that the rate should be on the card because "consumers have a right to know the current rate and can't possibly keep track of the rates on all their cards."
Tuttle says he originally tried to organize a rally last September in downtown Seattle, but "nobody showed up except my son and I. That was a little embarrassing."
So he launched creditcardrevolt.com with Granny's videos and a pdf of the flyer she smacks onto ATMs so others can do the same. Tuttle's campaign has gotten notice from the Huffington Post and MSNBC. Thanks to that publicity, he says, Credit Card Holders United has swelled to over 1,000 members.
The campaign doesn't put much responsibility on consumers. Tuttle, who racked up debt while his wife was fighting cancer, says "that's part of the stereotype, that anyone that gets into credit card debt, it's your own fault."
But no one should have so many cards you "can't possibly keep track of the rates." Perhaps Tuttle could also hand out sticky notes to put on our own cards saying: "If you need to use this because you can't afford what you're about to buy, put it back on the shelf."