Understanding Your Credit

Having bad credit or credit problems makes it difficult to get approved for credit cards, loans, mortgages and more. BuildMyCredit.com will show you how to consolidate your credit problems, get good credit on your credit report, and even help you create a budget that works for you.


Do you feel you have been denied credit, or not able to re-establish credit, because you have been discriminated against? Congress enacted the Equal Credit Opportunity Act to protect the rights of the consumer. It was amended in 1976 by Federal Reserve Regulation B to prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, country of origin, and receipt of public assistance.


Regulation B also contains partial exemptions from the procedures listed (except for discrimination on the basis of sex or marital status) for certain businesses, securities, and public utilities. The exempt businesses include physicians, dentists, and small shop owners who may issue credit, although not necessarily through a credit card, or a conventional payment method of more than four installments, or including the existence of finance and late charges.


You have the right:
  • To know the name and address of the credit reporting agency that prepared the credit profile which was used by the subscriber to deny you credit.
  • To receive information from a credit reporting agency pertaining to the nature, substance, and the sources (not including investigative sources) regarding the information collected about you.
  • To have an attorney, credit consultant, or anyone of your choice, accompany you when visiting the office of the credit reporting agency.
  • To know who has received a report on you in the past six months, or within the preceding two years, if the report was pulled for employment purposes.
  • To find out all information held on you, without any charge, in the event you have been denied credit or employment in the past 30 days.
  • To have information pertaining to you, that you disagree with, and, therefore, dispute, reinvestigated, and corrected or removed if inaccurate or unverified.
  • To place a statement in the credit reporting agency's files if you continue to dispute the accuracy of any items after a reinvestigation.
  • To have an updated report sent to those credit grantors who have received a report pertaining to you within the last six months.
  • To request that the credit reporting agency send your side of the dispute to your potential credit grantors.
  • To sue a credit agency if it willfully or negligently violates the law in reference to possible damages resulting from such an act. To have a credit report kept from anyone who, under the law, does not have a legitimate business need to receive that information.
  • Not to have adverse information pertaining to you over seven years, or bankruptcies for ten years, on file or reported.
  • To be notified by a business that ordered an investigative report for information about the nature and extent of the investigation.
  • To be notified by a business asking for information about you that would constitute the equivalent of an investigative consumer report.
  • May inquire about, and consider whether, obligations to make alimony payments, child support, or maintenance payments, would affect the outcome of a credit application.
  • May ask to what extent an applicant is relying on alimony or child support or maintenance payments to repay the debt. However, the applicant must first be informed that such disclosure is unnecessary if the applicant does not rely on such income to obtain credit.
  • The Equal Credit Opportunity Act also addresses the retention of certain records that must be kept by a creditor pertaining to any action taken on an application for credit. The creditor must retain any application form, or other information, notifications of action taken, reasons for any adverse action, and any allegations or violations.
  • To be judged on an equal basis with all other credit applicants, and prevents creditors from making statements to discourage applicants on the discriminatory basis listed above.
  • To have joint accounts reported for both spouses separately after June 1977.
  • To have your income considered without regard to sex or marital status, except in states with community property laws, or as required complying with state laws governing permissible finance charges or loan ceilings.
  • To have child support and alimony payments regularly received counted as income, if necessary.
  • Not to question about child-bearing plans, or birth control practices.
  • Not to have your sex or marital status applied in a credit application scoring system.
  • To obtain credit in your own name if you are a woman.
  • Not to have creditors use or require unfavorable information about a spouse or former spouse, in a case an applicant applies for credit independently of that spouse, and can demonstrate that the unfavorable information should be applied.
  • To have creditors count part-time income, although the creditor may consider the probable continuity of an applicant's employment.
  • To know the reasons you have been denied credit.
  • Not to have a creditor terminate your credit on an existing account because of a change in the applicant's marital status without evidence that the applicant is unwilling or unable to pay