In this article, Mr. Szwak defines what credit cards are and discusses various legal issues that arise between debtor, creditor and merchant in credit card transactions. Szwak first explains how banks issue credit cards and how consumers should be wary because not all issuers of credit cards have particularly high standards to protect a debtor’s credit rating. Secondly, Szwak discusses the subtle differences between “authorized use, “misuse” and “unauthorized use” of a credit card. Each term has its own distinct legal meaning. Thirdly, Szwak explores court holdings on various credit disputes that involved such issues as authority, unauthorized use, fraud and credit problems due to divorce. Finally, Szwak argues that the Fair Credit Billing Act does little to protect the consumer and urges attorneys to be familiar with all aspects of credit card law in order to effectively help their clients. Attorneys frequently overlook this very important aspect of the law.
David A. Szwak, Credit Cards in America, 13 J. Marshall J. Computer & Info. L. 573 (1995)