The staff at Credit.com are admittedly a little credit-crazed, but we do know that there are a lot of money regulations that consumers should be thankful for this year.
So as you go around the table this Thanksgiving, remember that these money rules are something to appreciate and honor.
The Free Annual Credit Report Rule
All Americans are entitled to one free credit report every 12 months from the three major credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion — under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act passed as an amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
At Credit.com, we’re major advocates of checking your credit report and knowing where you stand with lenders and credit card issuers. We even have our own Credit Report Card that allows users to check their credit report essentials without pulling their full credit report at a cost. It’s important to check your credit at least once a year, especially if you’re planning on making a big purchase like a house or a car and will need financing to make it happen.
As part of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Know Before You Owe initiative, the agency has proposed a new three-page mortgage disclosure form that would combine, simplify and improve upon already-existing mortgage forms required under federal law.
The new form, which was submitted to the Federal Register in July for comment, has not been finalized yet, but is being actively worked on by the agency. We’re thankful that the new rule is on the horizon for future homeowners and will make it easier for consumers to understand the structure of their mortgage and to shop around and compare different lenders’ offers.
The New CARD Act Rule for Stay-at-Home Parents
A point of intense criticism of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act was that, in an attempt to protect teens and other Americans with no source of income, stay-at-home parents would be unable to establish credit in their own name.
The specific rule that was criticized directed card issuers to only consider an individual’s income and assets in whether or not to issue a credit card. Stay-at-home parents argued that they would be unfairly denied a credit card in their own name because of the rule, and the CFPB has responded.
We’re thankful that the CFPB has made a concerted effort to correct this oversight in the legislation and propose a new rule to better accommodate stay-at-home parents and their credit needs.
[Credit Cards: Research and compare credit cards at Credit.com]
The Mortgage Acts and Practices — Advertising Rule
The CFPB and the Federal Trade Commission recently announced that they conducted a sweep of more than 800 mortgage product advertisements under the Mortgage Acts and Practices — Advertising Rule that was enacted in 2011. The agencies are using the rule, which outlines what can be considered deceptive marketing techniques in mortgage ads, to start investigations and issue warning letters to non-bank entities like brokers, real estate agents and other lenders that are pushing the boundaries of shady advertising.
Specifically, the organizations being monitored by the two agencies have produced ads that misrepresent fees, interest rates and payouts of mortgage products or have misrepresented themselves as being associated with a government agency.
These deceptive ads are particularly targeted toward older Americans, veterans and service members, so we’re thankful that the government is making an extra effort to protect these Americans.
Image: woodleywonderworks, via Flickr