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Credit Issues

Learn about common credit issues.

Bank and Credit Product Complaints

Report problems with your bank, financial institution, lender, or broker. There are tips to help you file a complaint:

  • Contact the branch manager, the customer service hotline, or the institution's website.
  • Use this sample complaint letter to explain your problem and how you want the bank to fix it.
  • Provide copies of receipts, checks, or other proof of the transaction.

If they don't help, get help from the correct regulatory agency.

File a Complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Complain to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) about:

  • checking and savings accounts
  • credit cards
  • credit repair services
  • credit reports and personal consumer reports
  • debt collection
  • debt settlement
  • money transfers and money services
  • mortgages  
  • payday loans
  • personal loans like installment or title loans
  • prepaid cards
  • student loans
  • vehicle loans and leases

File a Complaint About Securities

Complain about investments with the Securities and Exchange Commission or your state's securities regulator.

Home Equity Loans

A home equity loan is a form of credit where your home is used as collateral to borrow money. You can use it to pay for major expenses, including education, medical bills, and home repairs. But, if you cannot pay back the loan, the lender could foreclose on your home.

Types of Home Equity Loans

There are two types of home equity loans:

  • Lump sum - This is a one-time, closed-end loan that usually has a fixed interest rate.
  • Revolving line of credit - You can withdraw the funds at any time for more flexibility. These usually have adjustable interest rates.

For more information, refer to What You Should Know About Home Equity Lines of Credit, a guide by the Federal Reserve Board.

Talk to a Qualified Credit Counselor

Before taking out a home equity loan, be careful and consider the pros and cons. You should explore alternatives with a credit counselor that do not put your home at risk of a forced sale. If you are unable to make payments on time, you could end up losing your home. 

Contact a qualified credit counselor through the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC)


File a Complaint

If you have a problem with a home equity loan, you should contact the lender first. If you cannot resolve the issue with the lender, file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Personal Loans

Loans provide you with money you might not currently have for large purchases and let you pay back the money over a certain period of time. There are many types of loans available, such as home loans, car loans, and student loans for higher education expenses. Loans are divided into two categories: secured and unsecured. 

Secured Loans

With secured loans, your property and things you own are used as collateral. If you cannot pay back the loan, the lender will take your collateral to get their money back. Common secured loans include mortgages, home equity loans, and installment loans.


A mortgage represents a loan to buy a home. Fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages are the two main types of mortgages, but there is a wide variety of mortgage products available. Sources for mortgage loans include mortgage banks, mortgage brokers, banks, thrift and credit unions, home builders, real estate agencies, and Internet lenders. When shopping for a home mortgage, you should consider contacting several lenders or brokers to compare offers.    

If you miss your mortgage payments, foreclosure may occur. This provides the legal means for your lender to repossess your home. Foreclosures have a negative impact on your credit history. Beware of predatory loans: abusive and deceptive mortgage lending practices that strip borrowers of home equity and threaten families with foreclosure.

Home Equity Loans

A home equity loan is a form of credit where your home is used as collateral to borrow money. It's typically used to pay for major expenses (education, medical bills, and home repairs). However, if you cannot pay back the loan, the lender could foreclose on your home. 

There are two types of home equity loans:

  • Lump sum. A one-time, closed-end loan that usually has a fixed interest rate.
  • Revolving line of credit. You can withdraw the funds at any time for more flexibility. These usually have adjustable interest rates.

For further information about home equity loans, refer to What You Should Know about Home Equity Lines of Credit, a guide by the Federal Reserve Board

Installment Loans

With an installment loan, a borrower repays the loan over time with a set number of scheduled payments. Home and car loans represent the most common installment loans. Before you sign an agreement for a loan to buy a house, a car, or other large purchase, make sure you fully understand all of the lender's terms and conditions, including:

  • The dollar amount you are borrowing.
  • The payment amounts and when they are due.
  • The total finance charge, including all interest and fees you must pay to get the loan.
  • The APR, the rate of interest you will pay over the full term of the loan.
  • Penalties for late payments.
  • What the lender will do if you cannot pay back the loan.
  • Penalties if you pay the loan back early.

The Truth in Lending Act requires lenders to provide you this information so you can compare different offers. 

Unsecured Loans

Unsecured loans do not use property as collateral. Lenders consider these as more risky than secured loans, so they charge a higher rate of interest for them. Two common unsecured loans are credit cards and student loans.

Credit Cards

Credit cards allow you to pay for products and services now, but you need to repay the balance before the end of your billing cycle to avoid paying interest for your purchase. A credit card company sets a credit limit on how much you can charge on your card when it issues the card to you. When applying for credit cards, it's important to shop around. Fees, interest rates, finance charges, and benefits can vary greatly.

For further information on choosing a credit card, visit:

Student Loans

Student loans are available from a variety of sources, including the federal government, individual states, colleges and universities, and other public and private agencies and organizations. To help pay for higher education expenses, students and parents can borrow funds that must be repaid with interest. As a general rule, federal loans have more favorable terms and lower interest rates than traditional consumer loans.

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Last Updated: March 28, 2022