Senate Hearing Looking at Credit Card Fees

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Critics say the complex billing and interest-rate practices of credit card companies are, in some cases, pushing Americans even deeper into debt.

A Senate committee is taking up the issue on Capitol Hill today and some major credit card issuers are expected to testify.

Senator Carl Levin says his panel has uncovered "abusive" practices. They're legal but Levin threatens possible legislation to outlaw them. He's hoping it will persuade the banking industry to make changes voluntarily.

Levin and Senator Norm Coleman have denounced practices that bring in tens of (m) millions of dollars to banks issuing credit cards. As an example, there's so-called double-cycle billing. It eliminates the interest-free period for a consumer who moves from paying his full balance every month to carrying a balance.