Credit Discrimination is Illegal

Under federal law, it’s illegal for banks, credit unions, mortgage companies, retailers, and any other companies that extend credit to discriminate against you. So during the application process or when making a credit decisiona creditor must not consider — among other things — your race or sex, including sexual orientation and gender identity. (But a creditor may ask you to voluntarily disclose this information because it helps federal agencies enforce anti-discrimination laws.) You have the right to know within 30 days of filing your completed application whether it was accepted or rejected — and, if rejected, the reason why. The lender must tell you the specific reasons (for instance, “You haven’t been employed long enough”) or how to find them out.

If a business denies you credit or offers you less favorable terms, they must give you a notice that includes: the contact information for the credit bureau that supplied the information about you; and your credit score — if your credit score was a factor in the decision to deny you credit or to offer you less favorable terms. This can help you figure out why you were denied or offered less favorable terms and what to do next.

Different federal agencies, including the FTC, share enforcement responsibility for credit discrimination laws. If you’ve been denied credit, the creditor must give you the name and address of the agency to contact in your denial notice. Read these publications from the FTC or the CFPB to learn more about your rights and credit discrimination.

If you suspect credit discrimination, tell the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.