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Federal Credit Laws
Federal Laws include credit reporting, collections, billing acts, and more. Learn how these federal credit laws affect you and how companies are allowed to bill, report, and collect from you. It's important to understand lending and credit laws to avoid credit problems.
It is important to know your consumer rights. There are some very definite laws that protect you from unscrupulous creditors. Unfortunately, few people know their rights, and are harassed needlessly. Here are some of the basic credit laws, and how they protect you:
Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
The idea behind FCRA is to protect you from inaccurate information in your credit report, and to protect your privacy. This credit law is designed to ensure that credit reporting agencies strive to provide accurate and complete information to those who are looking into your credit history. Here are some of the basics:
Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA)
This credit law basically says that creditors and lenders cannot use race, sex, marital status, public assistance, religion, origin or age as factors in deciding your credit worthiness. This law states that if you receive public assistance in a reliable manner, it must be considered as income. Additionally, the ECOA assures your right to know the reasons behind any decision to deny you credit.
Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) and the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA)
These two credit laws work in tandem to set the rules for how to resolve mistakes in the event of credit billing and mistakes due to electronic fund transfers. Some of the things covered in these two acts include:
Note that the FCBA mostly applies to accounts like credit cards and checking accounts with overdraft protection. Loans and debit cards unattached to overdraft checking are usually not covered. With the EFTA, electronic banking transactions, such as ATMs, debits at the store and other similar transactions are covered.
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
This is a credit law that protects you from badgering and harassment by debt collectors. Additionally, this law prohibits debt collectors from using deceptive practices. Debts included are family, household and personal, and include all money owed – including for medical bills, car loans and credit cards. Here are some of the highlights of the FDCPA:
Because laws are always changing, and because state laws often offer added protection, it is a good idea to look up all of these laws on your own in order to assure yourself of changes – and to stay up to date on additional rights you may have.
For more information, you should also visit the Web site of the Federal Trade Commission: www.ftc.gov.
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