Responsible Lending and Marketing
Start.Credit is dedicated to working with responsible finance providers that prohibit abusive, misleading or fraudulent lending practices. At Start.Credit, we try to connect you with a lending partner that can offer you a loan. Start.Credit is not a loan providing service, and does not represent or endorse any lender. Rather, we strive to provide borrowers with adequate information about the loan request process and what your responsibilities are as a consumer to assist you in making informed and responsible loan decisions.
Prior to accepting any loan offer made to you by a lender, we recommend that you thoroughly review your lender’s policies. Each lender may have different loan terms and conditions. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the details of your loan, please contact your lender directly.
Fair Lending Practices
Many of the laws that protect borrowers are federal regulations known as Fair Lending Laws. Below are some important Fair Lending Laws in effect throughout the U.S. mandated by the federal government.
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act are meant to protect consumers from lenders who engage in unfair lending practices. The Act authorizes the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) with the ability to enforce Fair Lending Laws. All consumers that use the services provided by Start.Credit are urged to file a complaint with this agency in the event a problem arises regarding their loan.
The Truth in Lending Act (TILA) is designed to promote informed use of consumer credit by requiring disclosures about loan terms, costs, and fees in writing before the consumer takes any responsibility for the loan. TILA also gives consumers the right to cancel certain credit transactions that involve a lien on the consumer’s dwelling, provides a manner for fair and timely resolution of credit billing disputes and regulates credit card practices. The Act does not, however, regulate the charges that may be imposed for consumer credit. The lenders and/or lending partners in our network are required to provide consumers with clearly written and identifiable interest rates, late fees, rollover charges and any other fees that may be associated with their loan before the consumer signs the loan documents.
The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) prohibits the lenders from discriminating against any borrower on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age (provided that the applicant has the capacity to contract), because an applicant receives income from a public assistance program, or because an applicant has in good faith exercised any right under CFPA. ECOA also sets forth requirements for accepting applications and providing notices of any adverse action taken on the application within 30 days of receiving a completed application.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is designed to ensure that Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) furnish correct and complete information to businesses to use when they evaluate consumers’ information for credit, insurance, or employment. Under the FCRA, it is the consumers’ right to:
- Know what is in their file;
- Be told if information in their file has been used against them;
- Dispute incomplete or inaccurate information in their file, whereas consumer reporting agencies must correct or delete such information;
- Receive one free disclosure every 12 months upon request from each nationwide credit bureau and from nationwide specialty consumer reporting agencies;
- Request a credit score from consumer reporting agencies for a fee;
- Limit access to their file to people with a valid need for access; and
- Limit unsolicited offers of credit and be given opt out rights of such communications.
Debt Collection Practices
Start.Credit supports all provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FDCPA prohibits collectors and collection attorneys from using undue harassment and other unethical practices when collecting debt. While the FDCPA does not apply to first party creditors, certain states have enacted laws similar to the FDCPA that do in fact apply to first party creditors. Some of our lenders and/or lending partners are state-licensed and collect their own debts, and are not subject to the FDCPA. These lenders and/or lending partners are instead subject to certain state lending and debt collection laws. Start.Credit is not a lender and does not fund loans, therefore Start.Credit does not engage in debt collection practices. However, we consistently undertake to work only with reputable lenders and/or lending partners that abide by fair debt collection guidelines. These include without limitation:
- Not contacting consumers via phone before 8:00 am or after 9:00 pm;
- Not contacting consumers via phone with the intent to harass, annoy or use abusive language to belittle or threaten;
- Not attempting to collect debt through deception or misrepresentation; and
- Not resorting to threaten criminal charges or any legal action when no such action is allowed.
If at any time a lender does not conduct itself properly or violates, directly or indirectly, a debt collection law or regulation, including any FDCPA statute (or, if the lender collects its own debts, a state debt collection law), we suggest that you report the lender and such violations to the FTC. Any lender within our network found to be in violation of these guidelines will be immediately removed from our network and reported to law enforcement.
Implications of Late Payments
It is important to Start.Credit that you understand the consequences of making late payments on your loan. Late payments on your loans may result in additional fees or collection activities, or both. Each of our third party lenders and/or lending partners has its own policies regarding late payments as governed by state lending regulations. We strongly encourage you to review the late payment policy provided in your loan document before signing the document so you may understand the policy and any potential fees and penalties.
Implications of Non-Payment
Non-payment of credit could result in collections activities. Each of our third party lenders and/or lending partners has its own policies regarding non-payment as governed by state lending regulations. Start.Credit strongly encourages you to review your particular lender’s policy on non-payment including any fees and penalties you may be subject to for non-payment. Lenders and/or lending partners within our network should practice debt collection in a fair manner abiding by FTC policies.
Depending on your state’s laws, your lender may be able to offer plans to renew your loan, rollover options, and other ways of extending the re-payment period to help you make payments in full. Please be aware, renewal plans presented to you by your lender should only be undertaken in special circumstances after making all relevant considerations because the costs involved will add to the amount of money you will have to repay.
While all lenders and/or lending partners in our network follow federal regulations, individual states also have numerous laws for lending within their borders. These include strict adherence to local laws regarding interest rates, rollover limits and fees, presentment limits, maximum loan terms, cool-off periods between loans, and more. It is important for consumers to educate themselves about their loan offer before considering whether or not to accept it, including the federal and state laws, rules, and regulations that apply.
By registering on Start.Credit, you are also giving your express consent to receive promotional and advertising materials from Start.Credit, our network of lenders and/or lending partners, and/or third party marketing partners with whom we may share your information. They may also provide information to you about additional services and/or products. You further understand and consent that all communications, whether to assist you in obtaining the loan you requested or for promotional purposes or otherwise, may be through direct mail, e-mail (at the e-mail address you provided) and/or by telephone/mobile device (at the number(s) you provided) regardless of if your e-mail address and/or numbers may be listed on a corporate, state, or federal Do-Not-Contact registry, suppression list, or the like.
To opt out of receiving such marketing materials and/or communications, you may request to be removed by using the relevant opt-out mechanism in such communications or by contacting the third party directly. Start.Credit is not responsible for any promotional and advertising materials sent to you by the lender and other third parties and has no control over stopping all unwanted communications directed to you from sources beyond its control. You will need to contact your lender and/or the sender of the communication directly in order to remove your name and/or contact information from their list of recipients.
The content on this Site is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice in any manner and is not a substitute for qualified legal representation.