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Credit Discrimination

Stores or any other institutions offering personal or commercial credit cannot discriminate against you because of your race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, disability, public assistance, sexual orientation, or gender identity. 
Stores or any other institutions offering personal or commercial credit cannot refuse to extend credit to certain individuals, deny or offer less affordable terms and conditions to certain individuals, or require, as a condition of a contract, that a woman use her current rather than her former surname unless there is an intent to default or mislead.


  • To secure a loan at a bank, Black Minnesotans are required to have higher credit scores than white folks.
  • A department store refuses to establish a credit account for customers it perceives to be gay.
  • A bank includes marital status as part of an individual's creditworthiness.
  • A bank refuses to loan money to a couple who plan to buy a home in a racially diverse neighborhood.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can a person be refused a credit card or other forms of credit because he or she receives public assistance?

A lender may consider an individual's income in determining whether to extend credit, and under what terms or conditions. But income received from public assistance must be considered by the same standards as income received from employment or other sources.

Can an employer or landlord investigate my credit as part of a background check, and refuse to hire me or rent to me, as result of current or past credit problems?

An employer may conduct a background check on a job applicant, and may inquire about an applicant's credit worthiness. However, such background checks and any resulting information may not be used as a basis for illegal discrimination. For example, if an employer were to conduct background checks only on individuals of a certain race or national origin, or hold those applicants to a different standard, there could be a violation of the Human Rights Act.
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