What is the Lending Act and Fair Credit Reporting Act?

Understand The Truth in Lending Act

The government passed the Truth in Lending Act back in 1968. It was intended to make sure that you the consumer are fairly treated by lending businesses. You must be correctly informed on the real cost of the credit. The TILA makes lenders reveal all credit terms in a manner that is easy to understand so that you can knowingly comparison shop interest rate terms and conditions. 

This act requires that they furnish you with Truth in Lending disclosure statements. These must include your loan’s amount, its annual percentage rate, payment schedule, repayment time for the life of the loan, and finance charges (to include late charges, application fees, and prepayment penalties). 

These rules only apply to closed end credit accounts, like car loans or mortgages, or open ended accounts such as credit cards. 

The act does not restrict the amount of interest a bank charges or if they must approve a given loan. Instead, it makes them reveal in easy to understand terms all costs and fees that come with the loan. This act is also called Regulation Z for short. 

Issuing a Consumer Statement

In case you have derogatory information contained on your credit report, you possess the rights from the Fair Credit Reporting Act to get a consumer statement attached to your own credit report. The idea behind the statement is to permit you to explain why you got behind on your bills or would not pay a certain bill that you owed. Your reasons could range from a creditor not having kept their arrangement as agreed to having unexpectedly lost your job. 

The purpose to such a statement on your credit report is for damage control. It is possible that potential lenders might read the statement and then opt to approve you for credit even with a poor credit rating. After the statement has been attached to your credit report, the bureaus are made to furnish your consumer statement to any individual or organization that requests futures copies of your credit reports. 

How to Make Use of The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?

The government passed a law that protects you from debt collectors and their predatory practices. This Fair Debt Collection Practices act gives you many rights with the collections of debt.

They are not allowed to contact you late at night, harass you with language, or pursue you for a debt that is not yours. 

This starts with you being able to limit how and when the debt collectors can contact you. They may not call at either an inconvenient place or time nor tell any third party about your debt. This means that they may not call you at work if you tell them not to, call you before 8 am or after 9 pm, and must not discuss your debt with ay third parties (family, friends, or employers). 

If you have an attorney, they must deal with them rather than you. Also, you have the right to tell them to stop contacting you entirely. You must do this in writing for it to be enforced, according to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Fortunately, the Financial Protection Bureau maintains sample letters that you can use to set up your request.

According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, these collectors may not use any deceptive, false, or misleading information in order to collect a debt. If they are behaving too aggressively or abusively, this could be a warning that the debt collector is a scammer. 

Determining this can save you the costly errors of paying for a debt that is not yours. 

Remember that debt collectors are required by law to answer questions honestly, yet they can choose not to answer them as well. This means that they are not allowed to misrepresent the dollar amount of the debt in question, if it has exceeded the statute of limitations, or their legal avenues if you do not repay the debt. 

They also may not threaten to take any of your property or actually take it unless it is allowed by a specific law. Collectors may not collect more than owed on a given debt (which can include fees and interest).

How to Use the Fair Credit Billing Act to Your Advantage

The Fair Credit Billing Act gives you the ability to dispute any charges a credit card issuer claims that you made. The particulars are that you have 60 days from first receiving the bill in order to dispute the relevant charge with the credit card issuer. 

Charges have to be in excess of $50 to be eligible. 

The date or amount could be wrong, you might not have authorized them, or they could have calculation errors. It may be that you did not receive the service or good promised, which is also grounds for a dispute. 

In order to use the act to your advantage, you must do an in writing complaint and mail it to the creditor. If you need a sample letter, go to the Federal Trade Commission’s site and use theirs. Your creditor will then have up to 30 days to acknowledge their receipt of this complaint. They are given two full billing cycles to finish their investigation. In this time, the creditor can not charge interest on the charged amount, attempt to collect it, or report you as late to the bureaus. 

Such rights only apply to the disputed amount though. 

Should the credit’s research determine that the dispute charge was not valid, they have to correct the mistake and refund all interest or fees correlated with it. If they determine there was no error, they must explain all findings and provide documentation establishing it. You then have 10 more days to challenge the results of their investigation. 

If your card has been stolen or lost, you area allowed to make your disputes over the phone or their website instead of in writing. Your liabilities are always limited to $50 in such a case, though most creditors will pay this too. 

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I see High Credit Score Secrets as a valuable reference book. It’s accessible language, formatting of financial information into digestible sections, repetition of important concepts and terms, and step-by-step internal “guides,” make it your “go to” reference whenever you have credit-related questions or situations.

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How Long Does Negative Information Stay on My Credit Report?

The amount of time negative information stays on your credit report depends on which type of debt it is. Thanks to the federal law the Fair Credit Reporting Act, there is a specific time limit allowed by law.

For most types of negative information, a seven year credit reporting limit exists from the date of original delinquency. This includes late payments and collections on credit cards, student loan defaults, and foreclosures. The Higher Education Act specifically deals with student loan defaults. 

Certain items may stay on your report for longer than seven years. Charge offs can remain on your report for seven and a half years from the date the creditor charges them off. 

Generally they only report for seven years as with delinquent payments. 

Judgments and lawsuits vary from seven years from the filing date up to the statute of limitations from the state (whichever is longer). Paid tax liens require seven years from the date you pay them (or to the point you ask the IRS to remove them if they do not do it automatically). 

Unpaid tax liens remain on your credit report indefinitely. Bankruptcies require typically seven years from the date of filing though they can stay as long as 10 years from the original filing date.  Regardless of the type of bad credit information, you can expect at least seven years of negative impact on your credit report (from the point your creditors start reporting it as negative).

How Do I Dispute My Credit Report Online?

Disputing information on your credit report online is the fastest way to accomplish this task. If you find something that is incorrect or incomplete while reviewing your credit reports, you can file directly with the credit reporting bureau that has the inaccurate information. Doing so requires that you go to:


According to TransUnion. It requires only minutes of your time and it is completely free to dispute any false items on your reports. You could also call the bureaus or write them to dispute incorrect information, but this would be considerably slower. 

Equifax gives the steps to filing a dispute online. You start by checking your credit report to find any incomplete or inaccurate information. Should you see any information that needs to be corrected, you then click the options on the applicable credit reporting bureau to file a dispute. 

The three credit bureaus claim that they will start investigating the matter immediately. Despite this urgency, it can take them up to 30 days to complete the investigation and to get back with you. The good news is that if the bureau(s) find any information that should be corrected or updated, they will take care of the updates for you. 

Equifax also suggests if you find information from a creditor or lender that is false or incomplete then you contact the lender or creditor who issued your account directly. Doing so may speed up the process of getting the information corrected when the credit bureau contacts the creditor or lender to verify the information.

The bureaus will attempt to update any information on your report from the data you supply them. If it involves material that has been submitted by a third party lender or creditor though, the credit bureau will have to investigate it with them directly.