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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 Discrimination

Federal law gives you protections when you deal with any organizations or people who regularly extend credit. That includes, for example, banks, small loan and finance companies, retail and department stores, credit card companies, and credit unions. Everyone who participates in the decision to grant credit or in setting the terms of that credit, including real estate brokers who arrange financing, must comply with the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA).

Credit Scores

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

Did a Lender Offer Less Favorable Terms or Deny You Credit?

Your credit report and credit scores can affect whether you get credit or the price you pay to get it. If a business denies you credit or offers you less favorable terms for it, they must give you a notice.

    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.

    Mortgage Discrimination

    Discriminating against someone who’s trying to get a mortgage loan is against the law. Know your rights and what to do if you suspect discrimination.

    Understanding Your Credit

    We hear a lot about credit — credit reports, credit scores, credit freezes, credit monitoring. What does it all mean for you? Your credit matters because it affects your ability to get a loan, a job, housing, insurance, and more. It’s important to understand what your credit is and how to protect it.

    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 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.

    Comparing Credit, Charge, Secured Credit, Debit, or Prepaid Cards

    Credit, charge, secured credit, debit, and prepaid cards work in different ways and offer different advantages and pitfalls.

    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.

    Disputing Credit Card Charges

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

    Lost or Stolen Credit, ATM, and Debit Cards

    If you lose your credit, ATM, or debit card, federal law limits whether you must pay unauthorized charges, depending on the type of card and how quickly you report its loss.

    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.

    Sample Letter for Disputing Credit and Debit Card Charges

    Do you need to dispute charges to your credit or debit card? This sample letter can help you write a letter to get your money back.

    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

    Cosigning a Loan FAQs

    When you cosign a loan for a friend or family member, you’re putting your own finances and creditworthiness on the line. Here’s what you need to know before you cosign a loan.

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      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.