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The Credit Handbook

Credit seems to be the American way of life. In early 2012, there were over 2 billion credit cards in use in the United States. Today, the average consumer has 13 credit obligations—including revolving credit accounts (e.g., credit cards and home equity lines of credit) and installment loans (e.g., student, mortgage, car, and personal loans). Credit can be an excellent tool when it’s used well. But unfortunately, the road to easy credit contains some potholes.

This handbook is a guide to using credit. It will explain why most of us choose to use credit, provide tips to help you choose the right credit for you, detail the fees and terms to know, explain common pitfalls, and clarify your credit rights.

Table of Contents

The following is a table of contents for the Credit Handbook. You may click on the headers for more information on that topic.

The ABCs of Credit

  • Where Do I Start?
  • Choices! Choices!
  • Credit Cards

How to Get Credit

  • Credit Reports
  • Credit Scores
  • What if I Get Turned Down?
  • Try a Secured Credit Card

The Cost of Credit

  • What Will It Cost Me?
  • Lost or Stolen Credit Cards
  • Extras
  • Money Saving Tips

When Credit Goes Bad

  • Are You in a Credit Crisis?
  • I Can’t Pay My Bills
  • Debt Payment Plan
  • A Note About Debt Settlement Companies

Debt Collection

  • Debt Collectors
  • Answering a Lawsuit
  • Garnishment
  • Vehicle Repossession

Considering Bankruptcy

  • What Is an Automatic Stay?
  • Different Types of Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 7
  • Chapter 13
  • What Debts Cannot Be Discharged in Bankruptcy?
  • For More Information

Other Issues

  • Electronic Banking
  • Fighting Credit Card Fraud
  • Stop Identity Thieves in Their Tracks
  • The Rent-to-Own Trap
  • Look Out for These Scams

Credit Laws and Your Credit Rights

  • Truth in Lending Act
  • Fair Credit Billing Act
  • Fair Credit Reporting Act
  • Electronic Funds Transfer Act
  • Equal Credit Opportunity Act
  • Consumer Leasing Act
  • Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

Resources

  • Top Ten Credit Tips
  • Glossary of Terms
  • Consumer Agencies

Related Posts:

Credit Reports

Credit reports include information about a person's account and repayment history. Information in a credit report impacts how much a person pays for loans and other credit and sometimes whether a person can get credit.

Credit Scores

Your credit score is a measure of your credit worthiness, or how likely you are to make timely payments and repay a loan. Credit card companies, auto lenders, mortgage lenders, insurance companies, utility companies, landlords, and employers may use your credit score to determine whether they will offer you credit, a loan, a job, or even an apartment.

Guarding Your Privacy

Identity theft is on the rise nationwide and is helped along by lenders and creditors who are willing to grant thousands of dollars in credit in mere minutes with little or no proof of identity. This booklet will help you guard your privacy, protect your personal information and avoid identity fraud.