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Money & Credit

Obtaining Credit.

To help people who are applying for credit, we have prepared a brochure with information on credit issues and your rights when it comes to credit. To view this brochure, click here.

Dealing with Debt.

If you are having a hard time making payments to creditors, it is best to deal with the problem head-on. You can begin by examining your financial situation to see if you can figure out a debt payment plan that will work for you. You should also talk to your creditors, which may be willing to work out a revised payment plan. Or, you may wish to enlist the help of a nonprofit credit counseling service, which offer low-cost or free counseling. Many of these agencies will help you figure out a debt repayment plan, talk to creditors on your behalf, and work with you on budgeting and other money issues. Be very careful when selecting someone to assist you to avoid debt assistance scams. More information on these scams is available below. Two organizations that can assist you in locating a reputable nonprofit credit counseling agency are:

LSS Financial Counseling Service
424 West Superior Street, Suite 600
Duluth, MN 55802
(888) 577-2227
www.lssmn.org/debt

National Foundation for Credit Counseling
1-800-388-2227
www.nfcc.org

Payday Loans.

A payday loan is a short-term, high interest loan often for $500 or less, targeted at people who need money between paychecks. The contract typically requires the borrower to pay back the loan in 14 days, when their next paycheck arrives. People interested in payday loans should be wary of who they are borrowing from because some payday lenders do not follow Minnesota law and charge interest rates far greater than those allowed in Minnesota. People should also be wary about giving their information out to unknown companies online because this can expose them to potential privacy and identity theft risks, and a disreputable Internet company could use their bank account information to drain their bank account. More information on this topic is available here.

Financial Scams.

Below is a list of some of the more common financial scams targeting Minnesotans:

Debt Settlement Scams.

Debt settlement companies purport to help people by negotiating a lump-sum payoff of their debt. Debt settlement scam artists often promise quick results and charge high fees. In some cases, debt settlement scam artists' programs can have a long-term negative impact on people’s credit and ability to get loans or other credit in the future. Click here for more information on this scam. Do not do business with a debt settlement company unless it is properly registered with the Minnesota Department of Commerce. You may access the list of debt settlement service providers registered with the Commerce Department here.

Debt Management Scams.

Debt management companies purport to help people develop a budget and distribute payments to people’s creditors. Debt management scam artists often sign people up for services they do not need and charge high enrollment and/or monthly fees that take away from money that could have been used to pay their creditors. For more information on debt management scams, click here. Do not do business with a debt management company unless it is properly registered with the Minnesota Department of Commerce. You may access the list of debt management service providers registered with the Commerce Department here.

Credit Services Scams.

Credit services organizations purport to help people obtain credit, improve their credit rating or history, or provide credit advice or assistance. Credit services scam artists often charge people thousands of dollars for things they could do themselves for free. More information on cleaning up your credit report and improving your credit score is available here and here. For more information on credit services scams, click here. Do not do business with a credit services organization unless it is properly registered with the Minnesota Department of Commerce. You may access the Commerce Department’s license lookup tool here.

Advance Fee Loan Scams.

Under this scam, you receive a call or email from a purported lender, or apply for a loan on a website. The purported lender offers you a loan, but requires you to send cash up-front (usually via a wire transfer or a reloadable card) under the guise of a down payment, insurance fee, or some other expense. After the money is sent, the purported lender disappears and the person never receives the loan. More information on this scam is available here.

If you have a question or experience a problem related to money or credit, or have been targeted by a financial scam, we want to hear from you. You may call us at (651) 296-3353 or (800) 657-3787, or submit a Consumer Assistance Request Form or Fraud Report Form to:

Office of Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson
445 Minnesota Street, Suite 1400
St. Paul, MN 55101

Additional Resources

The Minnesota Attorney General’s Office offers the following materials, which are designed to provide information to Minnesotans on issues related to money and credit:

Minnesota Department of Commerce.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce is the state agency that licenses state-chartered banks and other state-chartered financial institutions in Minnesota. The Commerce Department also licenses payday lenders, most debt management and debt settlement services providers, and certain credit services organizations. For more information or to file a complaint, contact the Commerce Department as follows:

Minnesota Department of Commerce
85 East Seventh Place, Suite 500
Saint Paul, MN 55101
(651) 539-1600 or (800) 657-3602
www.mn.gov/commerce

Federal Trade Commission.

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) is the federal agency that has authority to take action against deceptive, fraudulent and unfair business practices in the marketplace. For more information or to file a complaint, contact the FTC as follows:

Federal Trade Commission
Consumer Response Center
600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20580
(877) 382-4357
www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a federal agency that has authority to enforce various federal regulations and laws and to advocate on behalf of consumers as it relates to problems with banks, mortgages, credit cards, and financial institutions. For more information or to file a complaint, contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as follows:

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
PO Box 4503
Iowa City, IA 52244
(855) 411-2372
www.consumerfinance.gov

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is the federal agency with authority to license and regulate national banks. For more information or to file a complaint against a national bank, contact the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency as follows:

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
Customer Assistance Group
1301 McKinney Street, Suite 3450
Houston, TX 77010
(800) 613-6743
www.occ.gov

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) is a federal agency with the authority to regulate state-chartered banks that do not join the federal reserve system. For more information or to file a complaint about a state-chartered bank that is not a member of the federal reserve system, contact the FDIC as follows:

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Consumer Response Center
1100 Walnut Street Box #11
Kansas City, MO 64106
(877) 275-3342
www.fdic.gov

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

The Federal Reserve Board of Governors is a federal agency with the authority to regulate state-chartered banks that are members of the Federal Reserve System. For more information or to file a complaint against a state-chartered bank that is a member of the Federal Reserve System, contact the Board of Governors as follows:

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
Federal Reserve Consumer Help
P.O. Box 1200
Minneapolis, MN 55480
(888) 851-1920
www.federalreserveconsumerhelp.gov

National Credit Union Administration.

The National Credit Union Administration is the federal agency with authority to license and regulate credit unions. For more information or to file a complaint about a credit union, contact the National Credit Union Administration as follows:

National Credit Union Administration
1775 Duke Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
(800) 755-1030
www.ncua.gov