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Today our nation uses credit for a wide array of necessities. Housing, transportation, and even education are funded through credit, making this investment one of paramount importance to the citizens of our country. With this investment, also comes the protection of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (or ECOA), as enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The ECOA ensures that no one is discriminated against on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, or the fact that someone is on public assistance.

Of course, there are some limitations imposed on applications for credit, and the terms of the credit. The legal guidelines for credit applications are income, expenses, debts, and credit history, among others, as these are considerations that can legally be determinative of your credit “worthiness.”

Here are some quick guidelines that you should consider when applying for credit. Creditors MAY NOT:

– reject your application or discourage you from application based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, or if you are on public assistance

– consider any of the above qualifications in regards to application status

– impose different terms or conditions based on the above qualifications

– ask if you plan on having children

If you believe that you have been discriminated against, it is your right to take action. You may take the following steps:

– complain to the creditor directly

– contact the office of your state attorney general

– consider suing the creditor in federal district court

– report the violations to the appropriate government agency (a creditor MUST give you the name of someone to contact)

Say educated, and stay informed. It’s your future and your rights.

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