NEW YORK (8/13/08)--Parade magazine Sunday encouraged readers to apply for credit cards at a credit union because credit unions are “less likely to impose burdensome fees.” Parade, which has nationwide distribution, also advised readers to pay their monthly balances, avoid using cards when traveling abroad because of high conversion fees, and to be aware of changes in rules or rates. Consumers are being hit with high interest rates and fees, and are being burned by credit card agreements they don’t understand, the magazine said. The article also noted that Congress has proposed rules to ban deceptive and unfair credit card practices. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) introduced legislation that would create a Credit Cardholders Bill of Rights, which would require credit card companies to give consumers notice of rate changes and 25 days to pay bills. Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) has introduced a bill that would prevent card companies from charging consumers for paying their bills online or through mail. His bill also would stop companies from marketing to consumers under age 21. Credit card debt in the U.S. has reached $1 trillion. As of 2007, the average American household has $9,840 in debt, compared with $2966 in 1990 (Parade Aug. 10).