At Reason's Hit & Run blog today, Peter Suderman quotes the Wall Street Journal discussing the unintended but completely predictable consequences of the Credit CARD Act. Credit card issuers have responded to the new law by raising rates to their highest level in a decade.
Suderman's point is that the new rules apply mostly to new users (as existing users are protected from certain rate increases by the new law) so one class of credit cardholders (young people and those new to credit) are paying more to cover the costs of administering credit to all of us.
Naturally, this means you shouldn't cancel any of the credit cards you have if you intend to continue to use credit, because you're not likely to get comparable terms on a new credit card. Better to swear off credit altogether, of course, but barring that, definitely keep the ones you have and be sure to make all of your payments on time.
Another thing this news affects is my long-standing advice to seek out credit cards with single-digit interest rates. I've said that your goal should be to get 9.9% or lower, and use credit very sparingly until your credit score is good enough to get a rate less than 10%. Now, with the average interest rate on credit cards at 14.7%, it will be even more difficult to get down into single-digit range. With the government passing things like the Credit CARD Act, it's more important than ever that you take very good care of your credit rating.