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What information are card issuers not allowed to base decisions on when considering a credit card application?

The Equal Credit Opportunity Act does not guarantee that you will get credit. You must still pass the card issuer’s tests of creditworthiness. But the law bars discrimination based on age, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), marital status, race, color, religion, and national origin in deciding whether to extend credit to an applicant, in deciding the terms (such as the interest rate or credit limit), or in any other aspect of a credit transaction.

The law also generally bars discrimination because you receive public assistance income, or because you exercise your rights under certain federal credit laws (such as filing a billing dispute with a card issuer).

This protection means that a card issuer may not use any of the above grounds as a reason to do the following:

  • discourage you from applying for a card
  • refuse you a card if you qualify
  • provide you credit on terms different from those granted another person with similar income, credit history, and other characteristics
  • close an existing account

Card issuers may not discriminate on the basis of national origin, but if you are a resident alien, they are allowed to consider your immigration status when making a loan decision. In particular, a card issuer can consider immigration status and any additional information that may be necessary to determine its rights and remedies regarding repayment.

Submit a complaint with the CFPB

If you believe a lender has discriminated against you for any reason, you can submit a complaint with the CFPB online or by calling (855) 411-CFPB (2372). You’ll need the dates, amounts, and other details about your complaint before submitting. We’ll provide you a way to monitor the status and progress of your complaint.