Banking, credit, personal finance, and related financial matters form the cornerstone of many consumer protection laws. Learning about consumer protection laws can help protect your personal finances and ensure your future financial health. In addition, maintaining a good credit score will help you when you start to shop for major purchases, such as a house or a car. FindLaw's Financial Consumer Protection section provides information and resources related to credit cards, banking and credit, personal finance, and credit repair. More specifically, you can find articles about lowering your banking fees, shopping for credit cards, how credit works, managing your personal finances, and how to invest for retirement. Finally, you can find overviews of various laws that have been enacted to protect and inform consumers, such as the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and the Truth in Lending Act.
The Truth in Lending Act
Financial products are often confusing for those without a background in finance. The Truth in Lending Act of 1968 is a federal law that was passed in order to provide more transparency for consumers so that they can compare loans before selecting one. The law has many provisions. One of the provisions of the law is the disclosure of the actual cost of a consumer credit transaction. This is done by providing the terms of a loan, due dates, interest rates, and any other relevant language in plain language that the average consumer can understand. All in all, this law allows the average consumer to be more informed when shopping for a loan.
Managing Your Personal Finances and Credit Score
Regardless of the size of a person's estate, it's important for everyone to manage his or her personal finances. The best way to manage your finances is to assess your net worth and then set a budget. You can determine your net worth by figuring out your assets and weighing that against your liabilities. Your assets include cash, income, and investments, while financial liabilities are things like loans, mortgages, and car payments. Once you determine your net worth, you can create a budget, which is the best way to set financial priorities and manage your debt.
Another important aspect of managing your finances is to manage your credit. Your credit score is based on your credit history. Credit history includes many things, but probably the two biggest components to your credit history are payment history and the amounts you owe. Your credit score is important because it's the main factor creditors used when deciding whether or not to give you a loan. In addition, a high credit score will usually result in a better interest rate for your loan. Managing your credit includes making payments on time, and being aware of your credit score. You are legally entitled to receive one free credit report from the three major credit bureaus each year. Taking advantage of this right will allow you to stay on top of your credit score and make sure there are no errors on your credit report.
Hiring an Attorney
Most activities relating to banking, credit, or financing don't usually require the assistance of an attorney. However, if you feel that your situation is more complicated than usual or you have questions about your rights, you may want to contact a local consumer attorney to discuss your legal options.