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Banking and Credit

Almost every customer interacts with banks, whether directly or indirectly, on a regular basis. An account with a bank or a credit union is necessary to conduct most business, and opening a credit card can help you build credit history. Given that banking is so important to a functioning economy, banking regulations have been enacted to help protect consumers from fraud or other acts banks may perform in bad faith. FindLaw's Banking and Credit section provides information and resources related to consumer protection in the area of banking. In this section, you can find articles on lowering bank fees, the truth in lending disclosures, and how to file a consumer complaint about a bank. There are also helpful articles on how consumer credit works, managing your credit score, and rebuilding credit.

Banking Fees

There are many banks that offer free banking accounts to customers. However, many banks also charge fees for various services. There are fees for services such as overdraft coverage, ATM usage, and returned checks. These fees can quickly add up for the customer if he or she isn't careful when choosing a bank.

Many banks charge fees for using another bank's ATM, as well as a fee for transferring money from one bank to another. Banks also often charge a fee if customers store items in a safe-deposit box at the bank. Some banks also charge a fee for interacting with bank tellers and for counting coins. Finally, most banks charge an overdraft protection fee for honoring a charge that exceeds the amount of money in a customer's bank account.

Fees for bank services can add up, so it's important to consider certain factors when selecting a bank. First, it's important to determine the purpose of the account. For example, will the account be a savings account or a checking account. There are other things to consider as well. For example, if you plan on withdrawing money from an ATM on a regular basis, it's important to choose a bank with ATMs that are in convenient locations for you. This way, you can avoid the fee for using another bank's ATM machine. Also, if you'll be using checks and you're afraid they might bounce, you should open an account with overdraft protection. Although banks charge a fee for overdraft protection, it's less expensive than bouncing a check.

The Importance of Credit Scores

A credit score is the summary of a person's credit history that analyzes and ranks a person's credit worthiness against the rest of the population. A credit score is important because it will determine the interest rate a person can receive on car, home, or student loans. The better the credit score, the better the interest rate will be. A bad credit score, can lead to receiving a bad interest rate or not receiving the loan at all, and can even be used to disqualify a person from certain jobs.

There are several factors that affect a person's credit score. The most heavily weighed factors are payment history, the amount owed on accounts, length of credit history, new credit inquiries, and different types of credit available. These factors have different weights in determining a person's credit score. Bankruptcy, defaulting on a loan, and accounts that are sent to debt collectors are viewed most adversely. In addition, recent issues are more heavily than ones in the past. Adverse credit history remains on a person's credit report for about seven years.

Hiring an Attorney

If you need help with any banking, credit, or financing issues, you may want to contact a local consumer attorney to discuss your legal options.

Learn About Banking and Credit