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What information is a card issuer not allowed to base decisions on when I apply for credit?

It’s against the law for the card issuer to discriminate based on age, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), marital status, race, color, religion, and national origin. This applies whether they are deciding about extending credit to you, about the terms (such as the interest rate or credit limit), or about any other aspect of a credit transaction.

The Equal Credit Opportunity Act does not guarantee that your credit card application will be approved. You must meet the card issuer’s standards for your credit score and history.

It’s also generally against the law to discriminate 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 your existing account

Credit card issuers collect information about you when opening a new account, including your name, date of birth, residential or work street address, and taxpayer or other identification number. The information may be collected from you or from a third-party source.

A lender is allowed to consider immigration and residency information, and other information that could affect the lender's ability under the law to make sure the loan is repaid. They also are allowed to take into account laws, regulations, and executive orders that limit dealings with citizens of certain countries. But they cannot use immigration status to justify discriminating against you based on your national origin, race, or other protected characteristics.

Learn more about fair lending.

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.