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            Consumer Handbook to Credit Protection Laws

            Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
            Washington, D.C. 20551
            12th Printing, April 1993
            
            Contents
            
            
            INTRODUCTION
            
            THE COST OF CREDIT
            
                 Shopping Is the First Step
                 What Laws Apply?
                 The Finance Charge and Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
                 A Comparison
                 Cost of Open-end Credit
                 Leasing Costs and Terms
                 Open-end Leases and Balloon Payments 
                 Costs of Settlement on a House
            
            APPLYING FOR CREDIT
            
                 Discrimination
                 What Law Applies?
                 What Creditors Look For
                 Information the Creditor Can't Use
                 Special Rules
                 Discrimination Against Women
                 If You're Turned Down
            
            CREDIT HISTORIES AND RECORDS
            
                 Building Up a Good Record 
                 What Laws Apply?
                 Credit Histories for Women
                 Keeping Up Credit Records
            
            OTHER ASPECTS OF USING CREDIT
            
                 What Laws Apply?
                 Billing Errors
                 Defective Goods or 全民彩票旧版
                 Prompt Credit for Payments and Refunds for Credit Balances
                 Cancelling a Mortgage
                 Lost or Stolen Credit Cards
                 Unsolicited Cards
            
            ELECTRONIC FUND TRANSFERS
            
                 Instant Money
                 EFT in Operation 
                 What Law Applies?
                 What Record Will I Have of My Transactions?
                 How Easily Will I Be Able to Correct Errors?
                 What About Loss or Theft?
                 What About Solicitations?
                 Do I Have to Use EFT?
                 Special Questions About Preauthorized Plans
            
            COMPLAINING ABOUT CREDIT
            
                 Complaining to Federal Enforcement Agencies
                 Penalties Under the Laws
            
            GLOSSARY
            
            SUBJECT INDEX
            
            DIRECTORY OF FEDERAL AGENCIES
            
            FEDERAL RESERVE BANKS
            
            OTHER CONSUMER PAMPHLETS AVAILABLE
            
            
            INTRODUCTION
            
            
            The Consumer Credit Protection Act of 1968--which launched Truth in
            Lending--was a landmark piece of legislation. For the first time,
            creditors had to state the cost of borrowing in a common language so
            that you--the customer--could figure out exactly what the charges would
            be, compare costs, and shop around for the credit deal best for you.
            
            Since 1968, credit protections have multiplied rapidly. The concepts of
            "fair" and "equal" credit have been written into laws that outlaw unfair
            discrimination in credit transactions; require that consumers be told
            the reason when credit is denied; let borrowers find out about their
            credit records; and set up a way to settle billing disputes.
            
            Each law was meant to reduce the problems and confusion surrounding
            consumer credit which, as it became more widely used in our economy,
            also grew more complex. Together, these laws set a standard for how
            individuals are to be treated in their financial dealings.
            
                 The laws say, for instance:
            
              -- that you cannot be turned down for a credit card just because
                 you're a single woman;
            
              -- that you can limit your risk if a credit card is lost or stolen;
            
              -- that you can straighten out errors in your monthly bill without
                 damage to your credit rating; and
            
              -- that you won't find credit shut off just because you've reached the
                 age of 65.
            
            But, let the buyer be aware! It is important to know your fights and how
            to use them. This handbook explains how the consumer credit laws can
            help you shop for credit, apply for it, keep up your credit standing,
            and--if need be--complain about an unfair deal. It explains what you
            should look for when using credit and what creditors look for before
            extending it. It also points out the laws' solutions to discriminatory
            practices that have made it difficult for women and minorities to get
            credit in the past.
            
            
            THE COST OF CREDIT
            
            
            Shopping is the First Step
            
            
            You get credit by promising to pay in the future for something you
            receive in the present.
            
            Credit is a convenience. It lets you charge a meal on your credit card,
            pay for an appliance on the installment plan, take out a loan to buy a
            house, or pay for schooling or vacations. With credit, you can enjoy
            your purchase while you're paying for it--or you can make a purchase
            when you're lacking ready cash.
            
            But there are strings attached to credit too. It usually costs
            something. And of course what is borrowed must be paid back.
            
            If you are thinking of borrowing or opening a credit account, your first
            step should be to figure out how much it will cost you and whether you
            can afford it. Then you should shop around for the best terms.
            
            
            What Laws Apply?
            
            
            Two laws help you compare costs:
            
            TRUTH IN LENDING requires creditors to give you certain basic
            information about the cost of buying on credit or taking out a loan.
            These "disclosures" can help you shop around for the best deal.
            
            CONSUMER LEASING disclosures can help you compare the cost and terms of
            one lease with another and with the cost and terms of buying for cash or
            on credit.
            
            
            The Finance Charge and Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
            
            
            Credit costs vary. By remembering two terms, you can compare credit
            prices from different sources. Under Truth in Lending, the creditor must
            tell you--in writing and before you sign any agreement--the finance
            charge and the annual percentage rate.
            
            The finance charge is the total dollar amount you pay to use credit. It
            includes interest costs, and other costs, such as service charges and
            some credit--related insurance premiums.
            
            For example, borrowing $100 for a year might cost you $10 in interest.
            If there were also a service charge of $1, the finance charge would be
            $11.
            
            The annual percentage rate (APR)is the percentage cost (or relative
            cost) of credit on a yearly basis. This is your key to comparing costs,
            regardless of the amount of credit or how long you have to repay it:
            
            Again, suppose you borrow $100 for one year and pay a finance charge of
            $10. If you can keep the entire $100 for the whole year and then pay
            back $110 at the end of the year, you are paying an APR of 10 percent.
            But, if you repay the $100 and finance charge (a total of $110) in
            twelve equal monthly installments, you don't really get to use $100 for
            the whole year. In fact, you get to use less and less of that $100 each
            month. In this case, the $10 charge for credit amounts to an APR of 18
            percent.
            
            All creditors--banks, stores, car dealers, credit card companies,
            finance companies-must state the cost of their credit in terms of the
            finance charge and the APR. Federal law does not set interest rates or
            other credit charges. But it does require their disclosure so that you
            can compare credit costs. The law says these two pieces of information
            must be shown to you before you sign a credit contract or before you use
            a credit card.
            
            
            A Comparison
            
            
            Even when you understand the terms a creditor is offering, it's easy to
            underestimate the difference in dollars that different terms can make.
            Suppose you're buying a $7,500 car. You put $1,500 down, and need to
            borrow $6,000. Compare the three credit arrangements on the next page.
            
            How do these choices stack up? The answer depends partly on what you
            need.
            
            The lowest cost loan is available from Creditor A.
            
            If you were looking for lower monthly payments, you could get then by
            paying the loan off over a longer period of time. However, you would
            have to pay more in total costs. A loan from Creditor B--also at a 14
            percent APR, but for four years--will add about $488 to your finance
            charge.
            
            If that four-year loan were available only from Creditor C, the APR of
            15 percent would add another $145 or so to your finance charges as
            compared with Creditor B.
            
            Other terms--such as the size of the down payment--will also make a
            difference. Be sure to look at all the terms before you make your
            choice.
            
            
            Cost of Open-end Credit
            
            
            Open-end credit includes bank and department store credit cards,
            gasoline company cards, 全民彩票旧版 equity lines, and checkoverdraft accounts
            that let you write checks for more than your actual balance with the
            bank. Open-end credit can be used again and again, generally until you
            reach a certain prearranged borrowing limit. Truth in Lending requires
            that open-end creditors tell you the terms of the credit plan so that
            you can shop and compare the costs involved.
            
            When you're shopping for an open-end plan, the APR you're told
            represents only the periodic rate that you will be charged--figured on a
            yearly basis. (For instance, a creditor that charges 1% percent interest
            each month would quote you an APR of 18 percent.) Annual membership
            fees, transaction charges, and points, for example, are listed
            separately; they are not included in the APR. Keep this in mind and
            compare all the costs involved in the plans, not just the APR.
            
            Creditors must tell you when finance charges begin on your account, so
            you know how much time you have to pay your bill before a finance charge
            is added. Creditors may give you a 25-day grace period, for example, to
            pay your balance in full before making you pay a finance charge.
            
            Creditors also must tell you the method they use to figure the balance
            on which you pay a finance charge; the interest rate they charge is
            applied to this balance to come up with the finance charge. Creditors
            use a number of different methods to arrive at the balance. Study them
            carefully; they can significantly affect your finance charge.
            
            Some creditors, for instance, take the amount you owed at the beginning
            of the billing cycle, and subtract any payments you made during that
            cycle. Purchases are not counted. This is called the adjusted balance
            method.
            
            Another is the previous balance method. Creditors simply use the amount
            owed at the beginning of the billing cycle to come up with the finance
            charge.
            
            Under one of the most common methods-the average daily balance
            method--creditors add your balances for each day in the billing cycle
            and then divide that total by the number of days in the cycle. Payments
            made during the cycle are subtracted in arriving at the daily amounts,
            and, depending on the plan, new purchases may or may not be included.
            Under another method--the two-cycle average daily balance
            method--creditors use the average daily balances for two billing cycles
            to compute your finance charge. Again, payments will be taken into
            account in figuring the balances, but new purchases may or may not be
            included.
            
            Be aware that the amount of the finance charge may vary considerably
            depending on the method used, even for the same pattern of purchases and
            payments.
            
            If you receive a credit card offer or an application, the creditor must
            give you information about the APR and other important terms of the plan
            at that time. Likewise, with a 全民彩票旧版 equity plan, information must be
            given to you with an application.
            
            Truth in Lending does not set the rates or tell the creditor how to
            calculate finance charges--it only requires that the creditor tell you
            the method that it uses. You should ask for an explanation of any terms
            you don't understand.
            
            
            Leasing Costs and Terms
            
            
            Leasing gives you temporary use of property in return for periodic
            payments. It has become a popular alternative to buying--under certain
            circumstances. For instance, you might consider leasing furniture for an
            apartment you'll use only for a year. The Consumer Leasing law requires
            leasing companies to give you the facts about the costs and terms of
            their contracts, to help you decide whether leasing is a good idea.
            
            The law applies to personal property leased to you for more than four
            months for personal, family, or household use. It covers, for example,
            long-term rentals of cars, furniture, and appliances, but not daily car
            rentals or leases for apartments.
            
            Before you agree to a lease, the leasing company must give you a written
            statement of costs, including the amount of any security deposit, the
            amount of your monthly payments, and the amount you must pay for
            licensing, registration, taxes, and maintenance.
            
            The company must also give you a written statement about terms,
            including any insurance you need, any guarantees, information about who
            is responsible for servicing the property, any standards for its wear
            and tear, and whether or not you have an option to buy the property.
            
            
            Open-end Leases and Balloon Payments
            
            
            Your costs will depend on whether you choose an open-end lease or a
            closed-end lease. Open-end leases usually mean lower monthly payments
            than closed-end leases, but you may owe a large extra payment--often
            called a balloon payment--based on the value of the property when you
            return it.
            
            Suppose you lease a car under a three-year open-end lease. The leasing
            company estimates the car will be worth $4,000 after three years of
            normal use. If you bring back the car in a condition that makes it worth
            only $3,500, you may owe a balloon payment of $500.
            
            The leasing company must tell you whether you may owe a balloon payment
            and how it will be calculated. You should also know that:
            
              -- you have the right to an independent appraisal of the property's
                 worth at the end of the lease. You must pay the appraiser's fee,
                 however.
            
              -- a balloon payment is usually limited to no more than three times
                 the average monthly payment. If your monthly payment is $ 200, your
                 balloon payment wouldn't be more than $600--unless, for example,
                 the property has received more than average wear and tear (for
                 instance, if you drove a car more than average mileage).
            
            Closed-end leases usually have higher monthly payment than open-end
            leases, but there is no balloon payment at the end of the lease.
            
            
            Costs of Settlement on a House
            
            
            A house is probably the single largest credit purchase for most
            consumers--and one of the most complicated. The Real Estate Settlement
            Procedures Act, like Truth in Lending, is a disclosure law. The Act,
            administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development,
            requires the lender to give you, in advance, certain information about
            the costs you will pay when you close the loan.
            
            This event is called settlement or closing, and the law helps you shop
            for lower settlement costs. To find out more about it, write to:
            
            Deputy Assistant Secretary for Housing Attention:
            RESPA Enforcement U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
            451 Seventh Street, S.W. Room 5241
            Washington, D.C. 20410
            
            Should you need to phone:
            (202) 708-4560
            
            A Federal Reserve pamphlet, entitled "A Consumer's Guide to Mortgage
            Closing Costs," also contains useful information for consumers.
            
            
            APPLYING FOR CREDIT
            
            
            Discrimination
            
            
            When you're ready to apply for credit, you should know what creditors
            think is important in deciding whether you're creditworthy. You should
            also know what they cannot legally consider in their decisions.
            
            
            What Law Applies?
            
            
            EQUAL CREDIT OPPORTUNITY ACT requires that all credit applicants be
            considered on the basis of their actual qualifications for credit and
            not be turned away because of certain personal characteristics.
            
            
            What Creditors Look For
            
            
            The Three C's. Creditors look for an ability to repay debt and a
            willingness to do so--and sometimes for a little extra security to
            protect their loans. They speak of the three C's of credit-capacity,
            character, and collateral.
            
            Capacity. Can you repay the debt? Creditors ask for employment
            information: your occupation, how long you've worked, and how much you
            earn. They also want to know your expenses: how many dependents you
            have, whether you pay alimony or child support, and the amount of your
            other obligations.
            
            Character. Will you repay the debt? Creditors will look at your credit
            history (see chapter on Credit Histories and Records): how much you owe,
            how often you borrow, whether you pay bills on time, and whether you
            live within your means. They also look for signs of stability: how long
            you've lived at your present address, whether you own or rent, and
            length of your present employment.
            
            Collateral. Is the creditor fully protected if you fail to repay?
            Creditors want to know what you may have that could be used to back up
            or secure your loan, and what sources you have for repaying debt other
            than income, such as savings, investments, or property.
            
            Creditors use different combinations of these facts in reaching their
            decisions. Some set unusually high standards and other simply do not
            make certain kinds of loans. Creditors also use different kinds of
            rating systems. Some rely strictly on their own instinct and experience.
            Others use a "credit-scoring" or statistical system to predict whether
            you're a good credit risk. They assign a certain number of points to
            each of the various characteristics that have proved to be reliable
            signs that a borrower will repay. Then, they rate you on this scale.
            
            And so, different creditors may reach different conclusions based on the
            same set of facts. One may find you an acceptable risk, while another
            may deny you a loan.
            
            
            Information the Creditor Can't Use
            
            
            The Equal Credit Opportunity Act does not guarantee that you will get
            credit. You must still pass the creditor's tests of creditworthiness.
            But the creditor must apply these tests fairly, impartially, and without
            discriminating against you on any of the following grounds: age, gender,
            marital status, race, color, religion, national origin, because you
            receive public income such as veterans benefits, welfare or Social
            Security, or because you exercise your rights under Federal credit laws
            such as filing a billing error notice with a creditor. This means that a
            creditor may not use any of those grounds as a reason to:
            
              -- discourage you from applying for a loan;
            
              -- refuse you a loan if you quality; or
            
              -- lend you money on terms different from those granted another person
                 with similar income, expenses, credit history, and collateral.
            
            
            Special Rules
            
            
            Age. In the past, many older persons have complained about being denied
            credit just because they were over a certain age. Or when they retired,
            they often found their credit suddenly cut off or reduced. So the law is
            very specific about how a person's age may be used in credit decisions.
            
            A creditor may ask your age, but if you're old enough to sign a binding
            contract (usually 18 or 21 years old depending on state law), a creditor
            may not:
            
              -- turn you down or offer you less credit just because of your age;
            
              -- ignore your retirement income in rating your application;
            
              -- close your credit account or require you to reapply for it just
                 because you reach a certain age or retire; or
            
              -- deny you credit or close your account because credit life insurance
                 or other credit-related insurance is not available to persons your
                 age.
            
                 Creditors may "score" your age in a creditscoring system, but:
            
              -- if you are 62 or older you must be given at least as many points
                 for age as any person under 62.
            
            Because individuals' financial situations can change at different ages,
            the law lets creditors consider certain information related to age--such
            as how long until you retire or how long your income will continue. An
            older applicant might not qualify for a large loan with a 5 percent down
            payment on a risky venture, but might qualify for a smaller loan--with a
            bigger down payment--secured by good collateral. Remember that while
            declining income may be a handicap if you are older, you can usually
            offer a solid credit history to your advantage. The creditor has to look
            at all the facts and apply the usual standards of creditworthiness to
            your particular situation.
            
            Public Assistance. You may not be denied credit just because you receive
            Social Security or public assistance (such as Aid to Families with
            Dependent Children). But--as is the case with age--certain information
            related to this source of income could clearly affect creditworthiness.
            So, a creditor may consider such things as:
            
              -- how old your dependents are (because you may lose benefits when
                 they reach a certain age); or
            
              -- whether you will continue to meet the residency requirements for
                 receiving benefits.
            
            This information helps the creditor determine the likelihood that your
            public assistance income will continue.
            
            Housing Loans. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act covers your application
            for a mortgage or 全民彩票旧版 improvement loan. It bans discrimination because
            of such characteristics as your race, color, gender, or because of the
            race or national origin of the people in the neighborhood where you live
            or want to buy your 全民彩票旧版. Nor may creditors use any appraisal of the
            value of the property that considers the race of the people in the
            neighborhood.
            
            In addition, you are entitled to receive a copy of an appraisal report
            that you paid for in connection with an application for credit, if a you
            make a written request for the report.
            
            
            Discrimination Against Women
            
            
            Both men and women are protected from discrimination based on gender or
            marital status. But many of the law's provisions were designed to stop
            particular abuses that generally made if difficult for women to get
            credit. For example, the idea that single women ignore their debts when
            they marry, or that a woman's income "doesn't count" because she'll
            leave work to have children, now is unlawful in credit transactions.
            
            The general rule is that you may not be denied credit just because you
            are a woman, or just because you are married, single, widowed, divorced,
            or separated. Here are some important protections:
            
            Gender and Marital Status. Usually, creditors may not ask your gender on
            an application form (one exception is on a loan to buy or build a 全民彩票旧版).
            
            You do not have to use Miss, Mrs., or Ms. with your name on a credit
            application. But, in some cases, a creditor may ask whether you are
            married, unmarried, or separated (unmarried includes single, divorced,
            and widowed).
            
            Child-bearing Plans. Creditors may not ask about your birth control
            practices or whether you plan to have children, and they may not assume
            anything about those plans.
            
            Income and Alimony. The creditor must count all of your income, even
            income from part-time employment.
            
            Child support and alimony payments are a primary source of income for
            many women. You don't have to disclose these kinds of income, but if you
            do creditors must count them.
            
            Telephones. Creditors may not consider whether you have a telephone
            listing in your name because this would discriminate against many
            married women. (You may be asked if there's a telephone in your 全民彩票旧版.)
            
            A creditor may consider whether income is steady and reliable, so be
            prepared to show that you can count on uninterrupted
            income--particularly if the source is alimony payments or part-time
            wages.
            
            Your Own Accounts. Many married women used to be turned down when they
            asked for credit in their own name. Or, a husband had to cosign an
            account--agree to pay if the wife didn't--even when a woman's own income
            could easily repay the loan. Single women couldn't get loans because
            they were thought to be somehow less reliable than other applicants. You
            now have a fight to your own credit, based on your own credit records
            and earnings. Your own credit means a separate account or loan in your
            own name--not a joint account with your husband or a duplicate card on
            his account. Here are the rules:
            
              -- Creditors may not refuse to open an account just because of your
                 gender or marital status.
            
              -- You can choose to use your first name and maiden name (Mary Smith);
                 your first name and husband's last name (Mary Jones); or a combined
                 last name (Mary Smith-Jones).
            
              -- If you're creditworthy, a creditor may not ask your husband to
                 cosign your account, with certain exceptions when property rights
                 are involved.
            
              -- Creditors may not ask for information about your husband or
                 ex-husband when you apply for your own credit based on your own
                 income--unless that income is alimony, child support, or separate
                 maintenance payments from your spouse or former spouse.
            
            This last rule, of course, does not apply if your husband is going to
            use your account or be responsible for paying your debts on the account,
            or if you live in a community property state. (Community property states
            are: Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas,
            Washington and Wisconsin.)
            
            Change in Marital Status. Married women have sometimes faced severe
            hardships when cut off from credit after their husbands died. Single
            women have had accounts closed when they married, and married women have
            had accounts closed after a divorce. The law says that creditors may not
            make you reapply for credit just because you marry or become widowed or
            divorced. Nor may they close your account or change the terms of your
            account on these grounds. There must be some sign that your
            creditworthiness has changed. For example, creditors may ask you to
            reapply if you relied on your ex-husband's income to get credit in the
            first place.
            
            Setting up your own account protects you by giving you your own history
            of how you handle debt, to rely on if your financial situation changes
            because you are widowed or divorced. If you're getting married and plan
            to take your husband's surname, write to your creditors and tell them if
            you want to keep a separate account.
            
            
            If You're Turned Down
            
            
            Remember, your gender or race may not be used to discourage you from
            applying for a loan. And creditors may not hold up or otherwise delay
            your application on those grounds. Under the Equal Credit Opportunity
            Act, you must be notified within 30 days after your application has been
            completed whether your loan has been approved or not. If credit is
            denied, this notice must be in writing and it must explain the specific
            reasons why you were denied credit or tell you of your right to ask for
            an explanation. You have the same rights if an account you have had is
            closed.
            
            If you are denied credit, be sure to find out why. Remember, you may
            have to ask the creditors for this explanation. It may be that the
            creditor thinks you have requested more money than you can repay on your
            income. It may be that you have not been employed or lived long enough
            in the community. You can discuss terms with the creditor and ways to
            improve your creditworthiness. The next chapter explains how to improve
            your ability to get credit.
            
            If you think you have been discriminated against, cite the law to the
            lender. If the lender still says no without a satisfactory explanation,
            you may contact a Federal enforcement agency for assistance or bring
            legal action as described in the last chapter of this handbook.
            
            
            CREDIT HISTORIES AND RECORDS
            
            
            Building Up a Good Record
            
            
            On your first attempt to get credit, you may face a common frustration:
            sometimes it seems you have to already have credit to get credit. Some
            creditors will look only at your salary and job and the other financial
            information you put on your application. But most also want to know
            about your track record in handling credit--how reliably you've repaid
            past debts. They turn to the records kept by credit bureaus or credit
            reporting agencies whose business is to collect and store information
            about borrowers that is routinely supplied by many lenders. These
            records include the amount of credit you have received and how
            faithfully you've paid it back.
            
            Here are several ways you can begin to build up a good credit history:
            
              -- Open a checking account or a savings account, or both. These do not
                 begin your credit file, but may be checked as evidence that you
                 have money and know how to manage it. Cancelled checks can be used
                 to show you pay utility bills or rent regularly, a sign of
                 reliability.
            
              -- Apply for a department store credit card. Repaying credit card
                 bills on time is a plus in credit histories.
            
              -- Ask whether you may deposit funds with a financial institution to
                 serve as collateral for a credit card; some institutions will issue
                 a credit card with a credit limit usually no greater than the
                 amount on deposit.
            
              -- If you're new in town, write for a summary of any credit record
                 kept by a credit bureau in your former town. (Ask the bank or
                 department store in your old 全民彩票旧版town for the name of the agency it
                 reports to.)
            
              -- If you don't qualify on the basis of your own credit standing,
                 offer to have someone cosign your application.
            
              -- If you're turned down, find out why and try to clear up any
                 misunderstandings.
            
            
            What Laws Apply?
            
            
            The following laws can help you start your credit history and keep your
            record accurate:
            
            THE EQUAL CREDIT OPPORTUNITY ACT gives women a way to start their own
            credit history and identity.
            
            THE FAIR CREDIT REPORTING ACT sets up a procedure for correcting
            mistakes on your credit record.
            
            
            Credit Histories for Women
            
            
            Under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, reports to credit bureaus must
            be made in the names of both husband and wife if both use an account or
            are responsible for repaying the debt. Some women who are divorced or
            widowed might not have separate credit histories because in the past
            credit accounts were listed in their husband's name only. But they can
            still benefit from this record. Under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act,
            creditors must consider the credit history of accounts women have held
            jointly with their husbands. Creditors must also look at the record of
            any account held only in the husband's name if a woman can show it also
            reflects her own creditworthiness. If the record is unfavorable--if an
            ex-husband was a bad credit risk--she can try to show that the record
            does not reflect her own reputation. Remember that a wife may also open
            her own account to be sure of starting her own credit history.
            
            Here's an example:
            
            Mary Jones, when married to John Jones, always paid their credit card
            bills on time and from their joint checking account. But the card was
            issued in John's name, and the credit bureau kept all records in John's
            name. Now Mary is a widow and wants to take out a new card, but she's
            told she has no credit history. To benefit from the good credit record
            already on the books in John's name, Mary should point out that she
            handled all accounts properly when she was married and that bills were
            paid by checks from their joint checking account.
            
            
            Keeping Up Credit Records
            
            
            Mistakes on your credit record--sometimes mistaken identities--can cloud
            your credit future. Your credit rating is important, so be sure credit
            bureau records are complete and accurate.
            
            The Fair Credit Reporting Act says that you must be told what's in your
            credit file and have any errors corrected.
            
            Negative Information. If a lender refuses you credit because of
            unfavorable information in your credit report, you have a right to the
            name and address of the agency that keeps your report. Then, you may
            either request information from the credit bureau by mail or in person.
            You will not get an exact copy of the file, but you will at least learn
            what's in the report. The law also says that the credit bureau must help
            you interpret the data--because it's raw data that takes experience to
            analyze. If you're questioning a credit refusal made within the past 30
            days, the bureau is not allowed to charge a fee for giving you
            information.
            
            Any error that you find must be investigated by the credit bureau with
            the creditor who supplied the data. The bureau will remove from your
            credit file any errors the creditor admits are there. If you disagree
            with the findings, you can file a short statement in your record giving
            your side of the story. Future reports to creditors must include this
            statement or a summary of it.
            
            Old Information. Sometimes credit information is too old to give a good
            picture of your financial reputation. There is a limit on how long
            certain kinds of information may be kept in your file:
            
              -- Bankruptcies must be taken off your credit history after 10 years.
            
              -- Suits and judgments, tax liens, arrest records, and most other
                 kinds of unfavorable information must be dropped after 7 years.
            
            Your credit record may not be given to anyone who does not have a
            legitimate business need for it. Stores to which you are applying for
            credit or prospective employers may examine your record; curious
            neighbors may not.
            
            Billing Mistakes. In the next chapter, you will find the steps to take
            if there's an error on your bill. By following these steps, you can
            protect your credit rating.
            
            
            OTHER ASPECTS OF USING CREDIT
            
            
            The best way to keep up your credit standing is to repay all debts on
            time. But there may be complications. To protect your credit rating, you
            should learn how to correct mistakes and misunderstandings that can
            tangle up your credit accounts.
            
            When there's a snag, first try to deal directly with the creditor. The
            credit laws can help you settle your complaints without a hassle.
            
            
            What Laws Apply?
            
            
            FAIR CREDIT BILLING ACT sets up procedures requiring creditors to
            promptly correct billing mistakes; allowing you to withhold payments on
            defective goods; and requiring creditors to promptly credit your
            payments.
            
            IN LENDING gives you three days to change your mind about certain credit
            transactions that use your 全民彩票旧版 as collateral; it also limits your risk
            on lost or stolen credit cards.
            
            
            Billing Errors
            
            
            Month after month John Jones was billed for a lawn mower he never
            ordered and never got. Finally, he tore up his bill and mailed back the
            pieces--just to try to explain things to a person instead of a computer.
            
            There's a more effective, easier way to straighten out these errors. The
            Fair Credit Billing Act requires creditors to correct errors promptly
            and without damage to your credit rating.
            
            A Case of Error. The law defines a billing error as any charge:
            
              -- for something you didn't buy or for a purchase made by someone not
                 authorized to use your account;
            
              -- that is not properly identified on your bill or is for an amount
                 different from the actual purchase price or was entered on a date
                 different from the purchase date; or
            
              -- for something that you did not accept on delivery or that was not
                 delivered according to agreement.
            
                 Billing errors also include:
            
              -- errors in arithmetic;
            
              -- failure to show a payment or other credit to your account;
            
              -- failure to mail the bill to your current address, if you told the
                 creditor about an address change at least 20 days before the end of
                 the billing period; or
            
              -- a questionable item, or an item for which you need more
                 information.
            
            In Case of Error: If you think your bill is wrong, or want more
            information about it, follow these steps:
            
              1. Notify the creditor in writing within 60 days after the first bill
                 was mailed that showed the error. Be sure to write to the address
                 the creditor lists for billing inquiries and to tell the creditor:
            
                      -- your name and account number;
            
                      -- that you believe the bill contains an error and why you
                         believe it is wrong; and
            
                      -- the date and suspected amount of the error or the item you
                         want explained.
            
              2. Pay all parts of the bill that are not in dispute. But, while
                 waiting for an answer, you do not have to pay the amount in
                 question (the "disputed amount") or any minimum payments or finance
                 charges that apply to it.
            
                 The creditor must acknowledge your letter within 30 days, unless
                 the problem can be resolved within that time. Within two billing
                 periods--but in no case longer than 90 days--either your account
                 must be corrected or you must be told why the creditor believes the
                 bill is correct.
            
                 If the creditor made a mistake, you do not pay any finance charges
                 on the disputed amount. Your account must be corrected, and you
                 must be sent an explanation of any amount you still owe.
            
                 If no error is found, the creditor must send you an explanation of
                 the reasons for that finding and promptly send a statement of what
                 you owe, which may include any finance charges that have
                 accumulated and any minimum payments you missed while you were
                 questioning the bill. You then have the time usually given on your
                 type of account to pay any balance, but not less that 10 days.
            
              3. If you still are not satisfied, you should notify the creditor in
                 writing within the time allowed to pay your bill.
            
                 Maintaining Your Credit Rating. A creditor may not threaten your
                 credit rating while you're resolving a billing dispute.
            
                 Once you have written about a possible error, a creditor must not
                 give out information to other creditors or credit bureaus that
                 would hurt your credit reputation. And, until your complaint is
                 answered, the creditor also may not take any action to collect the
                 disputed amount.
            
                 After the creditor has explained the bill, if you do not pay in the
                 time allowed, you may be reported as delinquent on the amount in
                 dispute and the creditor may take action to collect. Even so, you
                 can still disagree in writing. Then the creditor must report that
                 you have challenged your bill and give you the name and address of
                 each person who has received information about your account. When
                 the matter is settled, the creditor must report the outcome to each
                 person who has received information. Remember that you may also
                 place your own side of the story in your credit record.
            
            
            Defective Goods or 全民彩票旧版
            
            
            Your new sofa arrives with only three legs. You try to return it; no
            luck. You ask the merchant to repair or replace it; still no luck. The
            Fair Credit Billing Act allows you to withhold payment on any damaged or
            poor quality goods or services purchased with a credit card, as long as
            you have made a real attempt to solve the problem with the merchant.
            
            This right may be limited if the card was a bank or travel and
            entertainment card or any card not issued by the store where you made
            your purchase. In such cases, the sale:
            
              -- must have been for more than $50; and
            
              -- must have taken place in your 全民彩票旧版 state or within 100 miles of
                 your 全民彩票旧版 address.
            
            
            Prompt Credit for Payments and Refunds for Credit Balances
            
            
            Some creditors will not charge a finance charge if you pay your account
            within a certain period of time. In this case, it is especially
            important that you get your bills, and get credit for paying them,
            promptly. Check your statements to make sure your creditor follows these
            rules:
            
            Billing. Look at the date on the postmark. If your account is one on
            which no finance or other charge is added before a certain due date,
            then creditors must mail their statements at least 14 days before
            payment is due.
            
            Crediting. Look at the payment date entered on the statement. Creditors
            must credit payments on the day they arrive, as long as you pay
            according to payment instructions. This means, for example, sending your
            payment to the address listed on the bill.
            
            Credit Balances. If a credit balance results on your account (for
            example, because you pay more than the amount you owe, or you return a
            purchase and the purchase price is credited to your account), the
            creditor must make a refund to you. The refund must be made within seven
            business days after your written request, or automatically if the credit
            balance is still in existence after six months.
            
            
            Cancelling a Mortgage
            
            
            Truth in Lending gives you a chance to change your mind on one important
            kind of transaction--when you use your 全民彩票旧版 as security for a credit
            transaction. For example, when you are financing a major repair or
            remodeling and use your 全民彩票旧版 as security, you have three business days,
            usually after you sign a contract, to think about the transaction and to
            cancel it if you wish. The creditor must give you written notice of your
            right to cancel, and, if you decide to cancel, you must notify the
            creditor in writing within the three-day period. The creditor must then
            return all fees paid and cancel the security interest in your 全民彩票旧版. No
            contractor may start work on your 全民彩票旧版, and no lender may pay you or the
            contractor until the three days are up. If you must have the credit
            immediately to meet a financial emergency, you may give up your right to
            cancel by providing a written explanation of the circumstances.
            
            The right to cancel (or right of rescission) was provided to protect you
            against hasty decisions--or decisions made under pressure--that might
            put your 全民彩票旧版 at risk if you are unable to repay the loan. The law does
            not apply to a mortgage to finance the purchase of your 全民彩票旧版; for that,
            you commit yourself as soon as you sign the mortgage contract. And, if
            you use your 全民彩票旧版 to secure an open-end credit line--a 全民彩票旧版 equity line,
            for instance--you have the right the cancel when you open the account or
            when your security interest or credit limit is increased. (In the case
            of an increase, only the increase would be cancelled.)
            
            
            Lost or Stolen Credit Cards
            
            
            If your wallet is stolen, your greatest cost may be inconvenience,
            because your liability on lost or stolen cards is limited under Truth in
            Lending.
            
            You do not have to pay for any unauthorized charges made after you
            notify the card company of loss or theft of your card. So keep a list of
            your credit card numbers and notify card issuers immediately if your
            card is lost or stolen. The most you will have to pay for unauthorized
            charges is $50 on each card--even if someone runs up several hundred
            dollars worth of charges before you report a card missing.
            
            
            Unsolicited Cards
            
            
            It is illegal for card issuers to send you a credit card unless you ask
            for or agree to receive one. However, a card issuer may send, without
            your request, a new card to replace an expiring one.
            
            
            ELECTRONIC FUND TRANSFERS
            
            
            Instant Money
            
            
            On his way 全民彩票旧版 last Friday night, John Jones realized he had no cash
            for the weekend. The bank was closed, but John had his bank debit card
            and the code to use it. He inserted the card into an automated teller
            machine outside the front door of the bank; then, using a number
            keyboard, he entered his code and pressed the buttons for a withdrawal
            of $50. John's cash was dispensed automatically from the machine, and
            his bank account was electronically debited for the $50 cash withdrawal.
            
            John's debit card is just one way to use electronic fund transfer (EFT)
            systems that allow payment between parties by substituting an electronic
            signal for cash or checks.
            
            Are we heading for a checkless society? Probably not. But a dent in the
            number of paper checks in the country全民彩票旧版's banking system--or a reduction
            in the rate at which that number has been growing--is clearly one
            advantage to electronic banking.
            
            Today, the cost of moving checks through the banking system is estimated
            to be approximately 80 cents per check, including the costs of paper,
            printing, and mailing. Moreover, checks--except your own check presented
            at your own bank--take time to cash: time for delivery, endorsement,
            presentation to another person's bank, and winding through various
            stations in the check clearing system. Technology now can lower the
            costs of the payment mechanism and make it more efficient and convenient
            by reducing paperwork.
            
            
            EFT in Operation
            
            
            The national payment mechanism moves money between accounts in a fast,
            paperless way. These are some examples of EFT systems in operation:
            
            Teller Machines (ATMs). Consumers can do their banking without the
            assistance of a teller, as john Jones did to get cash, or to make
            deposits, pay bills, or transfer funds from one account to another
            electronically. These 全民彩票旧版 are used with a debit or EFT card and a
            code, which is often called a personal identification number or "PIN."
            
            (POS) Transactions. Some EFT cards can be used when shopping to allow
            the transfer of funds from the consumer's account to the merchant's. To
            pay for a purchase, the consumer presents an EFT card instead of a check
            or cash. Money is taken out of the consumer's account and put into the
            merchant's account electronically.
            
            Preauthorized Transfers. This is a method of automatically depositing to
            or withdrawing funds from an individual's account, when the account
            holder authorizes the bank or a third party (such as an employer) to do
            so. For example, consumers can authorize direct electronic deposit of
            wages, Social Security or dividend payments to their accounts. Or, they
            can authorize financial institutions to make regular, ongoing payments
            of insurance, mortgage, utility or other bills.
            
            Telephone Transfers. Consumers can transfer funds from one account to
            another--from savings to checking, for example--or can order payment of
            specific bills by phone.
            
            
            What Law Applies?
            
            
            THE ELECTRONIC FUND TRANSFER ACT gives consumers answers to several
            basic questions about using EFT services.
            
            A check is a piece of paper with information that authorizes a bank to
            withdraw a certain amount of money from one person's account and pay
            that amount to another person. Most consumer questions center on the
            fact that EFT systems transmit the information without the paper. Thus,
            they ask:
            
              -- What record--what evidence--will I have of my transactions?
            
              -- How easily will I be able to correct errors?
            
              -- What if someone steals money from my account?
            
              -- What about solicitations?
            
              -- Do I have to use EFT services?
            
            Here are the answers the EFT Act gives to consumer questions about these
            systems.
            
            
            What Record Will I Have of My Transactions?
            
            
            A cancelled check is permanent proof that a payment has been made. Is
            proof of payment available with EFT services?
            
            The answer is yes. If you use an ATM to withdraw money or make deposits,
            or a point-of-sale terminal to pay for a purchase, you can get a written
            receipt--much like the sales receipt you get with a cash
            purchase--showing the amount of the transfer, the date it was made, and
            other information. This receipt is your record of transfers initiated at
            an electronic terminal.
            
            Your periodic bank statement must also show all electronic transfers to
            and from your account, including those made with debit cards, by a
            preauthorized arrangement, or under a telephone transfer plan. It will
            also name the party to whom payment has been made and show any fees for
            EFT services (or the total amount charged for account maintenance) and
            your opening and closing balances.
            
            Your monthly statement is proof of payment to another person, your
            record for tax or other purposes, and your way of checking and
            reconciling EFT transactions with your bank balance.
            
            
            How Easily Will I Be Able to Correct Errors?
            
            
            The way to report errors is somewhat different with EFT services than it
            is with credit cards (see page 22 for correcting credit billing errors).
            But, as with credit cards, financial institutions must investigate and
            correct promptly any EFT errors you report.
            
            If you believe there has been an error in an electronic fund transfer
            relating to your account:
            
              1. Write or call your financial institution immediately if possible,
                 but no later than 60 days from the date the first statement that
                 you think shows an error was mailed to you. Give your name and
                 account number and explain why you believe there is an error, what
                 kind of error, and the dollar amount and date in question. If you
                 call, you may be asked to send this information in writing within
                 10 business days.
            
              2. The financial institution must promptly investigate an error and
                 resolve it within 45 days. However, if the financial institution
                 takes longer than 10 business days to complete its investigation,
                 generally it must put back into your account the amount in question
                 while it finishes the investigation. (The time periods are longer
                 for POS debit card transactions and for any EFT transaction
                 initiated outside the United States.) In the meantime, you will
                 have full use of the funds in question.
            
              3. The financial institution must notify you of the results of its
                 investigation. If there was an error, the institution must correct
                 it promptly--for example, by making a recredit final.
            
                 If it finds no error, the financial institution must explain in
                 writing why it believes no error occurred and let you know that it
                 has deducted any amount recredited during the investigation. You
                 may ask for copies of documents relied on in the investigation.
            
            
            What About Loss or Theft?
            
            
            It's important to be aware of the potential risk in using an EFT card,
            which differs from the risk on a credit card.
            
            On lost or stolen credit cards, your loss is limited to $50 per card
            (see page 25). On an EFT card, your liability for an unauthorized
            withdrawal can vary:
            
              -- Your loss is limited to $50 if you notify the financial institution
                 within two business days after learning of loss or theft of your
                 card or code.
            
              -- But, you could lose as much as $500 if you do not tell the card
                 issuer within two business days after learning of the loss or
                 theft.
            
              -- If you do not report an unauthorized transfer that appears on your
                 statement within 60 days after the statement is mailed to you, you
                 risk unlimited loss on transfers made after the 60-day period. That
                 means you could lose all the money in your account plus your
                 maximum overdraft line of credit.
            
            Example:
            
            On Monday, john's debit card and secret code were stolen. On Tuesday,
            the thief withdrew $250, all the money John had in his checking account.
            Five days later, the thief withdrew another $500, triggering John's
            overdraft line of credit. John did not realize his card was stolen until
            he received a statement from the bank, showing withdrawals of $750 he
            did not make. He called the bank right away. John's liability is $50.
            
            Now suppose that when john got his bank statement he didn't look at it
            and didn't call the bank. Seventy days after the statement was mailed to
            john, the thief withdrew another $1,000, reaching the limit on John's
            line of credit. In this case, John would be liable for $1,050 ($50 for
            transfers before the end of the 60 days; $1,000 for transfers made more
            than 60 days after the statement was mailed).
            
            
            What About Solicitations?
            
            
            A financial institution may send you an EFT card that is VALID FOR USE
            only if you ask for one, or to replace or renew an expiring card. The
            financial institution must also give you the following information about
            your rights and responsibilities:
            
              -- A notice of your liability in case the card is lost or stolen;
            
              -- A telephone number for reporting loss or theft of the card or an
                 unauthorized transfer;
            
              -- A description of its error resolution procedures;
            
              -- The kinds of electronic fund transfers you may make and any limits
                 on the frequency or dollar amounts of such transfers;
            
              -- Any charge by the institution for using EFT services;
            
              -- Your right to receive records of electronic fund transfers;
            
              -- How to stop payment of a preauthorized transfer;
            
              -- The financial institution's liability to you for any failure to
                 make or to stop transfers; and
            
              -- The conditions under which a financial institution will give
                 information to third parties about your account.
            
            Generally, you must also get advance notice of any change in the account
            that would increase your costs or liability, or limit transfers.
            
            A financial institution may send you a card you did not request only if
            the card is NOT VALID FOR USE. An "unsolicited" card can be validated
            only at your request and only after the institution makes sure that you
            are the person whose name is on the card. It must also be sent with
            instructions on how to dispose of an unwanted card.
            
            
            Do I Have to Use EFT?
            
            
            The EFT Act forbids a creditor from requiring you to repay a loan or
            other credit by EFT, except in the case of overdraft checking plans.
            And, although your employer or a government agency can require you to
            receive your salary or a government benefit by electronic transfer, you
            have the right to choose the financial institution that will receive
            your funds.
            
            
            Special Questions About Preauthorized Plans
            
            
                 Q. How will I know a preauthorized credit has been made?
            
                 A. There are various ways you may be notified. Notice may be given
                    by your employer (or whoever is sending the funds) that the
                    deposit has been sent to your financial institution. Otherwise,
                    a financial institution may provide notice when it has received
                    the credit or will send you a notice only when it has not
                    received the funds. Financial institutions also have the option
                    of giving you a telephone number you can call to check on a
                    preauthorized credit.
            
                 Q. How do I stop a preauthorized payment?
            
                 A. You may stop any preauthorized payment by calling or writing the
                    financial institution, so that your order is received at least
                    three business days before the payment date. Written
                    confirmation of a telephone notice to stop payment may be
                    required.
            
                 Q. If the payments I preauthorize vary in amount from month to
                    month, how will I know how much will be transferred out of my
                    account?
            
                 A. You have the right to be notified of all varying payments at
                    least 10 days in advance.
            
                      Or, you may choose to specify a range of amounts and to be
                      told only when a transfer falls outside that range. You may
                      also choose to be told only when a transfer differs by a
                      certain amount from the previous payment to the same company.
            
                 Q. Do the EFT Act protections apply to all preauthorized plans?
            
                 A. No. They do not apply to automatic transfers from your account
                    to the institution that holds your account or vice versa. For
                    example, they do not apply to automatic payments made on a
                    mortgage held by the financial institution where you have your
                    EFT account. The EFT Act also does not apply to automatic
                    transfers among your accounts at one financial institution.
            
            
            COMPLAINING ABOUT CREDIT
            
            
            Complaining to Federal Enforcement Agencies
            
            
            First try to solve your problem directly with a creditor. Only if that
            fails should you bring more formal complaint procedures. Here's the way
            to file a complaint with the Federal agencies responsible for carrying
            out consumer credit protection laws.
            
            Complaints About Banks. If you have a complaint about a bank in
            connection with any of the Federal credit laws--or if you think any part
            of your business with a bank has been handled in an unfair or deceptive
            way--you may get advice and help from the Federal Reserve. The practice
            you complain about does not have to be covered by Federal law.
            Furthermore, you don't have to be a customer of the bank to file a
            complaint.
            
            You should submit your complaint--in writing whenever possible--to the
            Division of Consumer and Community Affairs, Board of Governors of the
            Federal Reserve System, Washington, D.C. 20551, or to the Reserve Bank
            nearest you, as listed on page 43 of this handbook. Be sure to describe
            the bank practice you are complaining about and give the name and
            address of the bank involved.
            
            The Federal Reserve will write back within 15 days--sometimes with an
            answer, sometimes telling you that more time is needed to handle your
            complaint. The additional time is required when complex issues are
            involved or when the complaint will be investigated by a Federal Reserve
            Bank. When this is the case, the Federal Reserve will try to keep you
            informed about the progress being made.
            
            The Board supervises only state--chartered banks that are members of the
            Federal Reserve System. It will refer complaints about other
            institutions to the appropriate Federal regulatory agency and let you
            know where your complaint has been referred. Or you may use the listing
            on page 42 of this booklet to write directly to the appropriate agency.
            
            Complaints About Other Institutions. On page 42 of this booklet, you
            will also find the names of the regulatory agencies for other financial
            institutions and for businesses other than banks. Many of these agencies
            do not handle individual complaints; however, they will use information
            about your credit experiences to help enforce the credit laws.
            
            
            Penalties Under the Laws
            
            
            You may also take legal action against a creditor. If you decide to
            bring a lawsuit, here are the penalties a creditor must pay if you win.
            
            Truth in Lending and Consumer Leasing Acts. If any creditor fails to
            disclose information required under these Acts, or gives inaccurate
            information, or does not comply with the rules about credit cards or the
            right to cancel certain 全民彩票旧版--secured loans, you as an individual may
            sue for actual damages--any money loss you suffer. In addition, you can
            sue for twice the finance charge in the case of certain credit
            disclosures, or, if a lease is concerned, 25 percent of total monthly
            payments. In either case, the least the court may award you if you win
            is $100, and the most is $1,000. In any lawsuit that you win, you are
            entitled to reimbursement for court costs and attorney's fees.
            
            Class action suits are also permitted. A class action suit is one filed
            on behalf of a group of people with similar claims.
            
            Equal Credit Opportunity Act. If you think you can prove that a creditor
            has discriminated against you for any reason prohibited by the Act, you
            as an individual may sue for actual damages plus punitive damages--that
            is, damages for the fact that the law has been violated--of up to
            $10,000. In a successful lawsuit, the court will award you court costs
            and a reasonable amount for attorney's fees. Class action suits are also
            permitted.
            
            Fair Credit Billing Act. A creditor who breaks the rules for the
            correction of billing errors automatically loses the amount owed on the
            item in question and any finance charges on it, up to a combined total
            of $50--even if the bill was correct. You as an individual may also sue
            for actual damages plus twice the amount of any finance charges, but in
            any case not less than $100 nor more than $1,000. You are also entitled
            to court costs and attorney's fees in a successful lawsuit. Class action
            suits are also permitted.
            
            Fair Credit Reporting Act. You may sue any credit reporting agency or
            creditor for breaking the rules about who may see your credit records or
            for not correcting errors in your file. Again, you are entitled to
            actual damages, p]us punitive damages that the court may allow if the
            violation is proved to have been intentional. In any successful lawsuit,
            you will also be awarded court costs and attorney's fees. A person who
            obtains a credit report without proper authorization--or an employee of
            a credit reporting agency who gives a credit report to unauthorized
            persons--may be fined up to $5,000 or imprisoned for one year, or both.
            
            Electronic Fund Transfer Act. If a financial institution does not follow
            the provisions of the EFT Act, you may sue for actual damages (or in
            certain cases when the institution fails to correct an error or recredit
            an account, for three times actual damages) plus punitive damages of not
            less than $100 nor more than $1,000. You are also entitled to court
            costs and attorney's fees in a successful lawsuit. Class action suits
            are also permitted.
            
            If an institution fails to make an electronic fund transfer, or to stop
            payment of a preauthorized transfer when properly instructed by you to
            do so, you may sue for all damages that result from the failure.
            
            
            Glossary
            
            
            Annual Percentage Rate (APR) -- The cost of credit as a yearly rate.
            
            Appraisal Fee -- The charge for estimating the value of property offered
            as security.
            
            Asset -- Property that can be used to repay debt, such as stocks and
            bonds or a car.
            
            Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) -- Electronic terminals located on bank
            premises or elsewhere, through which customers of financial institutions
            may make deposits, withdrawals, or other transactions as they would
            through a bank teller.
            
            Balloon Payment -- A large extra payment that may be charged at the end
            of a loan or lease.
            
            Billing Error -- Any mistake in your monthly statement as defined by the
            Fair Credit Billing Act.
            
            Business Days -- Check with your institution to find out what days it
            counts as business days under the Truth in Lending and Electronic Fund
            Transfer Acts.
            
            Collateral -- Property offered to support a loan and subject to seizure
            if you default.
            
            Cosigner -- Another person who signs your loan and assumes equal
            responsibility for it.
            
            Credit -- The right granted by a creditor to pay in the future in order
            to buy or borrow in the present; a sum of money due a person or
            business.
            
            Credit Bureau -- An agency that keeps your credit record.
            
            Credit Card -- Any card, plate, or coupon book used from time to time or
            over and over again to borrow money or buy goods or services on credit.
            
            Credit History -- The record of how you've borrowed and repaid debts.
            
            Creditor -- A person or business from whom you borrow or to whom you owe
            money.
            
            Credit-related Insurance -- Health, life, or accident insurance designed
            to pay the outstanding balance of debt.
            
            Credit Scoring System -- A statistical system used to rate credit
            applicants according to various characteristics relevant to
            creditworthiness.
            
            Creditworthiness -- Past and future ability to repay debts.
            
            Debit Card (EFT Card) -- A plastic card, looks similar to a credit card,
            that consumers may use to make purchases, withdrawals, or other types of
            electronic fund transfers.
            
            Default -- Failure to repay a loan or otherwise meet the terms of your
            credit agreement.
            
            Disclosures -- Information that must be given to consumers about their
            financial dealings.
            
            Elderly Applicant -- As defined in the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, a
            person 62 or older.
            
            Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) Systems -- A variety of systems and
            technologies for transferring funds electronically rather than by check.
            
            Finance Charge -- The total dollar amount credit will cost.
            
            全民彩票旧版 Equity Line of Credit -- A form of openend credit in which the 全民彩票旧版
            serves as collateral.
            
            Joint Account -- A credit account held by two or more people so that all
            can use the account and all assume legal responsibility to repay.
            
            Late Payment -- A payment made later than agreed upon in a credit
            contract and on which additional charges may be imposed.
            
            Lessee -- A person who signs a lease to get temporary use of property.
            
            Lessor -- A company that provides temporary use of property usually in
            return for periodic payment.
            
            Liability on an Account -- Legal responsibility to repay debt.
            
            Open-End Credit -- A line of credit that may be used over and over
            again, including credit cards, overdraft credit accounts, and 全民彩票旧版
            equity lines.
            
            Open-End Lease -- A lease which may involve a balloon payment based on
            the value of the property when it is returned.
            
            Overdraft Checking -- A line of credit that allows you to write checks
            or draw funds by means of an EFT card for more than your actual balance,
            with an interest charge on the overdraft.
            
            Point-of-Sale (POS) -- A method by which consumers can pay for purchases
            by having their deposit accounts debited electronically without the use
            of checks.
            
            Points and Origination Fees -- Points are finance charges paid at the
            beginning of a mortgage in addition to monthly interest. One point
            equals one percent of the loan amount. An origination fee covers the
            lender's work in preparing your mortgage loan.
            
            Punitive Damages -- Damages awarded by a court above actual damages as
            punishment for a violation of law.
            
            Rescission -- The cancellation or "unwinding" of a contract.
            
            Security -- Property pledged to the creditor in case of a default on a
            loan; see collateral.
            
            Security Interest -- The creditor's right to take property or a portion
            of property offered as security.
            
            Service Charge -- A component of some finance charges, such as the fee
            for triggering an overdraft checking account into use.
            
            
            Subject Index
            
            
            Age 
            APR 
            Balloon Payment 
            Cancellation (Rescission)
            Complaints
            Credit Applications 
            Credit Bureaus 
            Credit Cards
                 Billing Errors 
                 Liability for Loss or Theft 
            Credit Laws
                 Consumer Leasing 
                 Electronic Fund Transfers 
                 Equal Credit Opportunity 
                 Fair Credit Billing 
                 Fair Credit Reporting
                 Truth in Lending
            Credit Records
                 Confidentiality
                 Correcting Errors 
                 Women 
            Credit Records
                 Time Limits on Information 
            Credit Scoring
            Crediting of Payments 
            Creditworthiness 
            Debit Cards 
            Defective Merchandise 
            Denials of Credit 
            Discrimination 
            Division of Consumer and Community Affairs 
            EFT
                 Errors on Account 
                 Liability for Loss or Theft 
                 Preauthorized Transfers 
                 Record of Transaction 
            Enforcement Agencies
            Finance Charge 
            Housing Loans
            Leasing
            Open-end Credit
            Penalties
            Point-of-Sale
            Public Assistance
            Reserve Banks
            Settlement Costs
            Women
                 Alimony and Support Payments
                 Change in Marital Status
                 Cosigners 
                 Credit Histories
                 Information About Spouse 
                 Separate Accounts 
            
            
            
            Directory of Federal Agencies
            
            
            National Banks
            Compliance Management
            Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
            250 E Street, S.W.
            Mail Stop 7-5
            Washington, D.C. 20219
            (202) 874-4820
            
            State Member Banks of the Federal Reserve System
            Division of Consumer and Community Affairs
            Federal Reserve Board
            Washington, D.C. 20551
            (202) 452-3693
            
            Nonmember Federally Insured State Banks
            Office of Consumer Programs
            Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. 
            Washington, D.C. 20456
            (202) 898-3536 or (800) 934-FDIC
            
            Savings and Loan Associations
            Division of Consumer and Civil Rights
            Office of Community Investment
            Office of Thrift Supervision
            1700 G Street, N.W.
            Washington, D.C. 20552
            (202) 906-6237
            
            Federal Credit Unions
            Office of Public and Congressional Affairs
            Office of Consumer Programs
            National Credit Union Administration
            1776 G Street, N.W.
            Washington, D.C. 20456
            (202) 682-9640
            
            Other Lenders
            Division of Credit Practices
            Bureau of Consumer Protection
            Federal Trade Commission
            Washington, D.C. 20580
            (202) 326-3233
            
            Department of Justice
            Civil Division
            Office of Consumer Litigation
            550 11th St., N.W.
            The Todd Building
            Room No. 6114
            Washington, D.C. 20530
            (202) 514-6786
            
            
            Federal Reserve Banks
            
            
            BOARD OF GOVERNORS OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM
            Publication 全民彩票旧版 MS-138
            Washington, DC 20551
            (202) 452-3000
            
            ATLANTA, Georgia
            Public Affairs Department
            104 Marietta Street, N.W.
            ZIP 30303-2713
            (404) 521-8500
            
            BOSTON, Massachusetts
            Public 全民彩票旧版 Department
            P.O. Box 2076
            ZIP 02106-2076
            (617) 973-3000
            
            CHICAGO, Illinois
            Public Information Center
            230 South LaSalle Street
            P.O. Box 834
            ZIP 60690-0834
            (312) 322-5322
            
            CLEVELAND, Ohio
            Public Affairs Department
            P.O. Box 6387
            ZIP 44101-1387
            (216) 579-2000
            
            DALLAS, Texas
            Public Affairs Department
            2200 North Pearl Street
            Zip 75201
            (214) 922-6000
            
            KANSAS CITY, Missouri
            Public Affairs Department
            925 Grand Avenue
            ZIP 64198-0001
            (816) 881-2000
            
            MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota
            Public Affairs Department
            250 Marquette Avenue
            ZIP 55401-0291
            (612) 340-2345
            
            NEW YORK, New York
            Public Information Department
            33 Liberty Street
            ZIP 10045
            (212) 720-5000
            
            PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania
            Public Information Department
            P.O. Box 66
            ZIP 19105
            (215) 574-6000
            
            RICHMOND, Virginia
            Public 全民彩票旧版 Department
            P.O. Box 27622
            ZIP 23261
            (804) 697-8000
            
            ST. LOUIS, Missouri
            Public Information Office
            P.O. Box 442
            ZIP 63166
            (314) 444-8444
            
            SAN FRANCISCO, California
            Public Information Department
            P.O. Box 7702
            ZIP 94120
            (415) 974-2000
            
            
            Other Consumer Pamphlets Available
            
            
                Consumer Handbook of Adjustable Rate Mortgages
            
                A Consumer's Guide to Mortgage Closing Costs
            
                A Consumer's Guide to Mortgage Lock-Ins
            
                A Consumer's Guide to Mortgage Refinancings
            
                A Guide to Business Credit for Women, Minorities, and Small Businesses
            
                全民彩票旧版 Mortgages: Understanding the Process and Your Right to Fair Lending
            
                A Guide to Federal Reserve Regulations
            
                How To File a Consumer Credit Complaint
            
                Making Deposits: When Will Your Money Be Available?
            
                When Your 全民彩票旧版 is on the Line: What You Should Know About 全民彩票旧版
                Equity Lines of Credit
            
            Copies of this handbook and other consumer pamphlets are available upon
            request from Publications 全民彩票旧版, Division of Support 全民彩票旧版, Board
            of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Washington, D.C. 20551

             

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