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How to Protect Yourself from Credit Discrimination

By Karen Anderson
Published: Thursday, November 19th, 2009

Whether we may admit it or not, discrimination still exists. Although our society has become more accepting and tolerant of differences, there are still traces of hostility that can be seen. This is also true of credit applications. We should then arm ourselves by knowing the credit report tips that would protect ourselves from discrimination.

The Equal Credit Opportunity act provides many important rights for individuals applying for credit. The main purpose of the law is to ensure that all consumers will be given an equal chance to receive credit. Whenever we apply for credit, our creditors should only consider factors such as income, expense, debt, and credit history. Thus, when they make their decisions based on race, sex, marital status, national origin, religion, age, or even if they get public assistance income, then they violate the law.

The law also provides several credit report tips that protect individuals whenever they transact or enter into a contract with any creditor who regularly extends credit. Included in this category are banks, small loan and finance companies, credit card companies, and credit unions to name a few. Thus, anyone who participates in the decision to grant credit is also governed by this law. This law however, not only governs individuals. Business or corporations that apply for credit are also protected.

Whenever we apply for credit, there are certain rules and regulations that our would-be creditors should observe. The first of which is that they are not allowed to discourage us from applying because of our sex, marital status, age, national origin, or even if we have received public assistance income. This is one of the credit report tips to remember. In fact, they are not allowed to ask consumers about their sex, race, national origin, or religion. It is only when we are applying for a real estate loan that the creditors may ask us to reveal this kind of information.

In the same vein, our marital status should not be a factor. Thus, our potential creditor is not allowed to ask if we are divorced or widowed. This is especially true if we are applying for a separate unsecured account. Our marital status only comes into play when we are applying for a joint account or any account secured by property.

These are but a few of the rights that we are entitled to as stated by the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. What are the credit report tips to consider if we suspect discrimination? First of which is to complain to our creditor. We could also consult with our state’s Attorney General’s office to see if the creditor violated state laws.  If need be, we could even file a case in the Federal district court or join others to file a class action suit. Finally, we could report violations to the appropriate government agency.

Discrimination could always be countered. Through the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, credit report tips are made available to consumers that would help them protect their credit rights.

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