Tools & Resources
“Building a Better Credit Report,” a booklet available online from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), gives detailed advice on how to improve one’s credit status. The booklet explains the legal rights provided consumers by the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act and suggests ways of improving a credit report. In addition, the booklet offers tips on dealing with debt and avoiding credit-related scams and identity theft.
In "Choosing and Using Credit Cards" the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers tips on shopping around for credit cards on their webpage.
Consumer Action’s website offers an extensive library of downloadable resources, including “Building and Keeping Good Credit (2007)” — a fact sheet explaining credit history, credit reports, and how to establish good credit. The site also offers “Improve Your Credit — Put Bad Credit Behind You,” which explains the importance of good credit, consumer rights if credit applications are rejected, how to check a credit report and dispute any mistakes, and how to rebuild good credit. Many Consumer Action publications are available in Chinese, Korean, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
On the Consumer Federation of America's site are research studies and news articles on bankruptcy legislation. Click on “Finance” on the home page, then “Credit and Debt,” then “Bankruptcy.”
The CFPB’s mission is to “ make markets for consumer financial products and services work for Americans — whether they are applying for a mortgage, choosing among credit cards, or using any number of other consumer financial products.” This is a useful site to submit a complaint about an issue you have with a company about a consumer financial product or service, as well as to seek guidance on a number of topics including credit, consumer and student loans, and protections against credit discrimination.
The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco has published a number of brochures related to credit and credit cards including: “SHOP: The Credit Card You Pick Can Save You Money,” “Credit and Charge Cards: What Consumers Should Know about the Cost and Terms of Credit,” and “Plastic Fraud: Getting a Handle on Debit and Credit Cards.” The San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank also provides detailed information about credit reports.
The Federal Reserve Board publishes informational brochures on credit issues, which can be downloaded on their website in online and printable versions. Many of the brochures are also available in Spanish. Titles include: Tips for Improving Your Credit Score, Choosing a Credit Card, Consumer Handbook to Credit Protection Laws, A Guide to Business Credit for Women, Minorities, and Small Businesses, and There’s a Lot to Learn About Money.
"Getting Credit: What You Need to Know About Credit" is the Federal Trade Commission’s page on what the consumer needs to do to obtain and maintain good credit.
Designed for teenagers, "Money Talks Teen Guides" by The University of California Cooperative Extension offers guidance to young people about credit and credit cards.
National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) is a nonprofit credit counseling and consumer protection organization, this section of the NFCC webpage contains information on bankruptcy counseling.
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) member agency locator allows consumers to contact a nearby office for confidential debt counseling advice, either in person, online, or over the telephone.
Nolo Press (publisher of do-it-yourself legal books and software) has pages of bankruptcy information on its website, including answers to frequently asked questions, such as "does it make economic sense to declare bankruptcy?" Updates on relevant national legislation are also included.
Practical Money Skills for Life, a financial literacy program from Visa, has an informative personal finance section in addition to some useful finance calculators.
Designed for young adults, students can visit this website to learn the basics of credit cards and how to manage them properly.
“Bankruptcy Basics”, published online by the United States Bankruptcy Courts, is an excellent source of information on federal bankruptcy law. The publication provides a basic explanation of the different chapters under which a bankruptcy case may be filed and answers commonly asked questions about the bankruptcy process.
United States Trustee’s Office, under the Department of Justice, lists approved credit counseling agencies across the country. This information may be found under Credit Counseling and Debtor Education.
US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. The website for this court provides general information on bankruptcy procedures, local calendars, and fees.