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Credit Access

Legal Information
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This section of PALawHelp.org has information and resources about Credit Access issues in Pennsylvania.

Click on a resource category listed below to see information related to that category.

Free Credit Reports

The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires each of the nationwide credit reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. The Federal Trade Commission provides information on how to obtain the reports and what to do with them.

Federal Court Finder

Find a federal court location by location or court name, including appellate, district, bankruptcy, probation and pretrial office, or federal defender organization. Each District Court has its own local forms which are generally available on the Court website.

Credit Reporting Problems

Information about credit reporting problems from the Erie County Bar Association.

Know Your Credit Rights

Consumer information pamphlet from the Pennsylvania Bar Association. [PDF]

Free Credit Reports

The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires each of the nationwide credit reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. The Federal Trade Commission provides information on how to obtain the reports and what to do with them.

Disputing Errors on Credit Reports

Your credit report contains information about where you live, how you pay your bills, and whether you’ve been sued or arrested, or have filed for bankruptcy. The Federal Trade Commission provides information on your rights under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act to ensure the information in that report is accurate.

Your Equal Credit Opportunity Rights

Information from the Federal Trade Commission on the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, which prohibits credit discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, or because you get public assistance.

Credit Cards and College Students

General credit advice for students on credit card usage from the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General.

Credit Cards - Consumer Guide

This site--maintained by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, whose goal is to protect the credit rights of consumers--provides a basic guide to navigating the credit card process.

Credit, Debit, and Charge Cards

Credit card, charge card, or debit card? Each lets you pay for products and services. Each also has unique characteristics. And if you’re shopping for a credit card, it’s important to compare fees, interest rates, finance charges, and benefits. The Federal Trade Commission provides information on how to get what is best for your needs.

Credit & Loans

Consumer information from the Federal Trade Commission.

Credit Scores

Creditors use credit scoring systems to figure out if you’d be a good risk for credit cards, auto loans, and mortgages. Phone companies and companies selling auto insurance and home insurance also use credit scores along with other factors to decide whether to sell you a policy or service. Credit scores also can affect the terms of the credit you’re offered. Having a higher credit score means businesses see you as less of a financial risk, which means you’re more likely to get credit or pay less for it.

What protections do I have against credit discrimination?

Credit discrimination prevents people from having access to attending college, opening businesses, and buying homes; and it can make credit more expensive. This article from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau provides some basic information about your protections against credit discrimination.

Loans & Credit - Know Your Options Before You Sign.

Informational brochure on different types of loans and credit arrangements that are available so that you can make the right choice when entering into an agreement. [PDF]

Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act [PDF]

Information from the Federal Trade Commission on your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

How can I improve my credit score? (Video)

This video from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau provides information on tools and resources that can help you improve your credit score.

Payday loans explained (Video)

When cash is tight, some people turn to payday and similar loans to make ends meet. For some people payday loans become debt traps and our new rule aims to end the cycle of debt.

Prepaid Card Protections

This video provides information on how new rules makes prepaid accounts safer to use – whether you’re swiping a card at the register, shopping online, or scanning your smartphone.

Three ways to build your credit score (Video)

This video from Consumer Financial Protection Bureau provides information on three trusted methods to help you improve your credit score.

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