Know Your Rights When Shopping for Credit

Ready to purchase a car or mortgage?  Shopping around for a great rate can save you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan, not to mention that some banks charge application fees where credit unions usually to never charge extra fees.  Credit unions can be a great source of lower interest rates and easier qualifications for getting the loan.

When shopping for great rates and services ask as many questions as possible before having your credit reports pulled.  These are considered “hard” pulls and will lower your FICO scores.

The Equal Credit Opportunity Act protects you when dealing with obtaining new credit with anyone who regularly offers credit.  This includes banks, finance companies, stores, credit card companies and credit unions.  When you apply for new credit, a creditor may NOT:

Credit rights
Applying for credit?  Know your rights.

1.  Ask about your marital status or your spouse, unless you are applying for a joint account or relying on your spouse’s income, or you live in a community property state.  ( Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington or Wisconsin)

2.  Ask you if you plan to have children or if you plan to raise children.

3.  Ask about or consider your race, sex, religion or national origin.

4.  Refuse to consider public assistance income or regularly received alimony or  child support as income.

5.  Refuse to consider income because of our sex or marital status or because it is from part-time work or retirement benefits.

You have the right to:
1.  Have credit in your first name, birth name,and your spouse/ partner’s last name, or your first name and a combined last name.

2.  If a co-signer is necessary, it can be someone other than your spouse.

3.  After you change your name you can keep your own accounts or marital status or retire, unless the creditor has evidence you are unable or unwilling to pay.

4.  Know why a credit application was rejected.  The creditor must give you the specific reasons or tell you where and how you can get them if you ask within 60 days.  Once you receive the letter from the creditor, the letter usually will inform you of your FICO credit score and give you reasons why you were turned down.  The letter will also state which credit reporting agency the creditor requested your credit reports.  You have the right to contact that credit reporting agency and request a copy of your complete credit report so that you can review it for any inaccuracies.

5.  You have the right to have accounts shared with your spouse reported in both your names.

6.  You have the right to know how much it will cost to borrow money.

7.  YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO A FREE ANNUAL CREDIT REPORT .   You can request these once every 12 months.  When denied credit you are entitled to an additional, free, credit report from the credit reporting agency that the creditor requested your credit report.

To learn more of our services on how we can help you with your credit issues, go to our website at www.kirkpatrickassoc.com .

Call us if you have questions about your credit.  205-352-3448.  Monday – Friday 8:30 to 5:30.

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