Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation
Bryan A. Schneider, Secretary  
Bruce Rauner, Governor
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Equal Credit Opportunity Act*

The Equal Credit Opportunity Act guarantees you equal rights in dealing with anyone who regularly offers credit, including banks, finance companies, stores, credit card companies and credit unions. A creditor is someone to whom you owe money. When you apply for credit, a creditor may not:

  • ask about or consider your sex, race, national origin, or religion;
  • ask about your marital status or your spouse, unless you are applying for a joint account or relying on your spouse's income or you live in a community property state (Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas and Washington);
  • ask about your plans to have or raise children;
  • refuse to consider reliable public assistance income or regularly received alimony or child support; and
  • discount or refuse to consider income because of your sex or marital status or because it is from part-time work or retirement benefits.

You have the right to:

  • have credit in your birth name, your first name and your spouse's last name, or your first name and a combined last name;
  • have a co-signer other than your spouse if one is necessary;
  • keep your own accounts after you change your name or marital status or retire, unless the creditor has evidence you are unable or unwilling to pay;
  • know why a credit application is rejected; the creditor must give you the specific reasons or tell you of your right to find out the reasons if you ask within 60 days; and
  • have accounts shared with your spouse reported in both your names.

* Courtesy of The U.S. Office of Consumer Affairs

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