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Credit and Loans

Decisions about credit and loans involve lots of factors, including how much money you need, what terms you’re offered, and who is behind the offer. If you are choosing a credit card or wondering whether offers of credit and loans are on the up and up, these tips can help.

Getting Credit

Credit Scores

Your credit score affects whether a company will give you credit and how much you’ll pay for it.

Getting Utility Services: Why Your Credit Matters

Getting utility services like gas, electricity, or water has a lot to do with your credit history and your credit score.

Setting Out on Your Own

Here’s how to create a basic budget.

Understanding Your Credit

It’s important to understand what your credit is and how to protect it.

Your Equal Credit Opportunity Rights

The Equal Credit Opportunity Act prohibits credit discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, or because you get public assistance.

Credit Reports

Credit and Your Consumer Rights

What to know about credit laws that protect your right to get, use and maintain credit.

Disputing Errors On Your Credit Reports

The accuracy of your credit report is important because it affects whether you can — and how much you'll pay — to borrow money.

Fixing Your Credit

What to know about how to fix errors on your credit report and avoid credit repair scams.

Fixing Your Credit FAQs

Here’s what to know about how to fix errors on your credit report and avoid credit repair scams.

Free Credit Reports

Learn how, why, and when to order copies of your free annual credit report.

Sample Letter Disputing Errors on Credit Reports to the Business that Supplied the Information

Use this sample letter to  dispute incorrect or inaccurate information that a business supplied to credit bureaus.

Sample Letter to Credit Bureaus Disputing Errors on Credit Reports

Sample letter to help you dispute mistakes on your credit report.

Credit and Debit Cards

Automatic Debit Scams

Learn what can happen when you give your checking account number to a stranger who calls you.

Credit Card Interest Rate Reduction Scams

Want to lower the interest rate on your credit card balance? These tips can help.

Credit Card Loss Protection

Your liability for fraudulent credit card charges is $50, but that doesn’t stop scam artists from peddling “loss protection” services.

Credit, Debit, and Charge Cards

Before you pay with plastic, learn the differences between credit, debit, and charge cards, and get tips about how to shop for a credit card.

Disputing Credit Card Charges

Here’s how to resolve billing errors on your credit card accounts.

Lost or Stolen Credit, ATM, and Debit Cards

Federal law limits your liability if your credit, ATM, or debit card is lost or stolen, but your liability may depend on how quickly you report the loss or theft.

Prescreened Credit and Insurance Offers

Companies try to get new customers by sending “pre-screened” offers. Find out how prescreening works and how to opt out.

Protecting Against Credit Card Fraud

Use these tips to keep your credit card accounts safe from crooks.

The Lowdown on So-called Gold, Platinum, and Pre-approved Credit Cards

Be skeptical of gold, platinum, or pre-approved card offers that promise to get you a major credit card or improve your credit rating.

Using a Credit Card

It helps to know your rights and responsibilities when you use a credit card.

When a Company Declines your Credit or Debit Card

A merchant’s hold – or block – on your credit card may mean you can’t use your card for awhile. You might have to pay overdraft charges.

Loans

Co-signing a Loan

What are your obligations if you decide to co-sign on a loan for a friend or relative?

How To Get Back on Your Feet Financially After a Weather Emergency

Includes a list of contacts and practical steps to help you regain your financial footing.

How to Organize Your Finances in Times of Disaster

Tips for organizing and safely storing your financial and personal papers, and how to replace important missing documents.

What To Know About Advance-Fee Loans

Some companies promise you a low-interest loan or credit card, but want a fee first. They’re scams. Learn the warning signs.

What To Know About Payday and Car Title Loans

If you need money quickly, you may be considering a payday or car title loan. They can be risky and costly. Learn how they work.