How to Protect Your Rights

When you apply for and use credit, you should expect a fair deal from the lender.

Several federal laws protect your rights. The Truth in Lending Act requires the lender to disclose the terms of the deal in a way you can understand. The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 (CARD) gives credit card users new protections against arbitrary rate increases. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act prohibits unfair discrimination in the granting of credit. The Fair Credit Reporting Act helps if you have been denied credit. And the Fair Credit Billing Act, which is designed to prevent foul-ups on your bills and help straighten them out when they do occur. You could benefit from detailed knowledge of these laws.

The Truth in Lending Act. Federal truth-in-lending rules require lenders to express the cost of borrowing as the annual percentage rate, or APR. The APR and the method of calculating the finance charge must appear prominently on lenders' loan disclosure forms.

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