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Equal Opportunity For Credit Applicants

Applying for credit can be scary enough. You shouldn't have to worry about your rights being violated, so know what the Equal Credit Opportunity Act does for you.

At some point in your life, you'll most likely apply for credit. You may apply for a credit card or for a new home loan. Will you be thinking about your consumer credit rights? Probably not, but you don't have to worry because the Equal Credit Opportunity Act will protect you.

Equal Credit Opportunity Act

An amendment to the Consumer Credit Protection Act known as the Equal Credit Opportunity Act is designed to protect you from being the victim of discrimination when applying for credit. Its purpose is to ensure that all credit applications are considered equally:

  • Credit grantors must consider an application on the basis of certain economic factors, such as your credit history, income, and current amount of debt.

  • Credit grantors cannot consider an application on the basis of personal characteristics, including your race or national origin, religion, gender, marital status, or age.

  • Credit grantors cannot deny you credit because your income is from public assistance, or because you exercised your rights under the Consumer Credit Protection Act.

You Have a Right to Know

If you are denied credit, the Act requires that you receive information as to why you were not given credit. Creditors must supply an applicant with the reasons credit has been denied, if the applicant requests it within 30 days of the denial. Did you know you're entitled to a free copy of your credit report if you request it within 60 days of being denied credit? To learn how to get a copy of your credit report, see the U.S. Federal Trade Commission article Your Access to Free Credit Reports. To get more information on your consumer credit rights, read the related CareOne Credit Knowledge Center Articles.

Consumer Credit Rights

You have the right to:

  • Have credit in your name (birth name or married name)

  • Have a co-signer other than your spouse

  • Have credit in your own name without a cosigner if you meet the creditor's requirements

  • Keep your religion, race, sex, and marital status out of the application process

  • Have all sources of income (including part-time jobs and public assistance) considered when you apply for credit

For more information about your credit rights, see the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco pamphlet Your Credit Rights: How the Law Protects You.

You may have additional rights under the laws of your state. For more information, contact your state's consumer affairs office. Or you can find your state's Attorney General by visiting the National Association of Attorneys General website at www.naag.org.

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