Discourage you from applying or reject your application because of your race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, or because you receive public assistance. Consider your race, sex, or national origin, although you may be asked to disclose this information if you want to. It helps federal agencies enforce anti-discrimination laws.
A creditor may consider your immigration status and whether you have the right to stay in the country long enough to repay the debt. Impose different terms or conditions, like a higher interest rate or higher fees, on a loan based on your race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, or because you receive public assistance.
A creditor may use only the terms: A creditor in any state may ask for this information if you apply for a joint account or one secured by property. Ask for information about your spouse, except: Ask about your plans for having or raising children, but they can ask questions about expenses related to your dependents.
A creditor may ask if you have to pay alimony, child support, or separate maintenance payments. Consider your race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status or whether you get public assistance. Consider your age, unless: A credit scoring system assigns points to answers you give on credit applications.
For example, your length of employment might be scored differently depending on your age. Consider whether you have a telephone account in your name. A creditor may consider whether you have a phone. Consider the racial composition of the neighborhood where you want to buy, refinance or improve a house with money you are borrowing. Refuse to consider reliable public assistance income the same way as other income. Discount income because of your sex or marital status.
A creditor may not assume a woman of childbearing age will stop working to raise children. Discount or refuse to consider income because it comes from part-time employment, Social Security, pensions, or annuities. Refuse to consider reliable alimony, child support, or separate maintenance payments.
A creditor may ask you for proof that you receive this income consistently. Have a cosigner other than your spouse, if one is necessary. Know whether your application was accepted or rejected within 30 days of filing a complete application.
Know why your application was rejected. The creditor must tell you the specific reason for the rejection or that you are entitled to learn the reason if you ask within 60 days. An acceptable reason might be: Learn the specific reason you were offered less favorable terms than you applied for, but only if you reject these terms.
Find out why your account was closed or why the terms of the account were made less favorable, unless the account was inactive or you failed to make payments as agreed.
A Special Note To Women A good credit history — a record of your bill payments — often is necessary to get credit. This can hurt many married, separated, divorced, and widowed women. National credit reporting companies sell the information in your report to creditors, insurers, employers, and other businesses that, in turn, use it to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment, or renting a home. The Fair Credit Reporting Act FCRA requires each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to give you a free copy of your credit report , at your request, once every 12 months.
To order your report, visit annualcreditreport. Sometimes you can persuade the creditor to reconsider your application. Consider suing the creditor in federal district court.
Or you might consider finding others with the same claim, and getting together to file a class action suit. An attorney can advise you on how to proceed.
Report violations to the appropriate government agency. This article was previously available as Equal Credit Opportunity: Understanding Your Rights Under the Law.