Massachusetts law about credit, banking, and interest rates

Laws, regulations, cases, and web sources on credit, banking, and interest rate law.

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Table of Contents

I. Credit and credit cards

>Massachusetts laws

MGL c.93, §§ 50-70 Credit reporting

MGL c.93, § 105 Credit cards; checks; personal identification information

>Federal laws

15 USC §§ 1601 et seq. Consumer credit cost disclosure (Truth in Lending Act)

15 USC § 1681 et seq. Fair Credit Reporting Act

>Selected cases

Lance v. PNC Bank, NA, US District Court, Mass. (2015)
In "an action arising out of allegedly improper reporting of the status of a residential mortgage loan to a credit reporting company," claims under MGL c.93, s.54A and c.93A are preempted by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). 

Marquette National Bank v. First of Omaha Service Corp., 439 US 299 (1978)
Decision allowed a national bank to charge interest on credit cards at the rate allowed by the state where it was located, regardless of legal limits in the customers' home states.

Tyler v. Michaels Stores, 464 Mass. 492 (2013)
Construing G. L. c. 93, § 105 (a), the court held: "a zip code constitutes 'personal identification information' ...; that the term 'credit card transaction form' refers equally to electronic and paper transaction forms; and that a plaintiff may bring an action for violation of G. L. c. 93, § 105 (a), without alleging a claim of identity fraud."

>Web sources

Credit cards

The Mass. Attorney General’s Office provides a number of resource guides for the consumer in regard to credit and credit cards.

"Massachusetts law generally limits credit card annual interest rates to 18% and late charge penalties to $10 per payment. However, Massachusetts credit card customers of national banks located in South Dakota, Delaware, or other states may pay considerably higher interest rates and late penalties, because those states allow the higher rates and penalties. Therefore, make sure you are aware of which state the lender is located in and that you understand the credit terms before you take on a new credit card."
  • Does a credit card make sense for me?, Mass. Attorney General’s Office.
    There are benefits and risks to making purchases with credit. These tips can help you protect yourself when using a credit card.
  • Guide to consumer credit, Mass. Attorney General, February 2018.
    Covers Truth in Lending, billing rights, costs of credit, Fair Credit Reporting, Fair Debt Collection, and more.
  • Understanding debt and credit, Mass. Attorney General.
    Learn more about managing your credit and your rights and responsibilities with credit and debt. Having an issue with a debt collector, a credit card company, or a credit reporting agency? File a consumer complaint with the Attorney General's Office.

Credit card rules and the CARD Act, Findlaw.
A variety of protections for credit card holders and applicants.

Credit card secrets, Division of Banks.
"There are many aspects of credit cards you may not even realize. The Division of Banks offers the top 12 issues and remedies to help fix these problems."

Credit cards, National Consumer Law Center.
Policy analysis, current litigation, and additional resources.

Credit cards, U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. 
"Whether you’re shopping for a new card or getting a handle on an existing one, here are the resources you need to manage your credit cards."

Credit discrimination, U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Includes links to file a complaint and ask questions.

Credit, loans, and debt, Federal Trade Commission.
Includes information on credit scores, debit and credit cards, and loans.

Know the new credit card rules (and the loopholes), Mass. Secretary of the Commonwealth, 2010.
A brochure explaining rules for finance charges, interest rates, payment processing, and fees.

What is buy now, pay later?, NerdWallet, 2023.
Covers the pros and cons of the new debt option.  Warnings that it can be easy to overspend and may eventually impact your credit.

Credit reporting

AnnualCreditReport.com
This resource is mandated by the federal government and run by Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. It is the official website for free credit reports.

Credit reports and scores, U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Your credit reports and scores have an impact on your finances. Our resources can help you better understand them, learn how to correct errors, and improve your credit record over time.

Fair credit reporting, Mass. Attorney General.
Advisory on obtaining a free copy of your credit report.

Monitoring your credit report, Mass. Attorney General.
Advisory on how to handle discrepancies with your credit report.

Rates

How do lenders set interest rates, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
A discussion of the concepts lenders use to determine interest rates.

Interests rates, Credit.org.
What are Interest Rates & How Does Interest Work?

>Print sources

Consumer credit: law, transactions and forms, Matthew Bender, loose-leaf.

Consumer credit regulation, NCLC, 2020.

Consumer law, 4th edition (Mass. practice v.35A), West Group, 2021.
Chapter 15 Consumer credit loans

Credit repair by Amy Loftsgordon, Nolo, 2022. (eBook available here with library card).

Truth in lending, NCLC, 2019.

II. Banking and the banking industry

>Massachusetts laws

MGL c.140, § 96 Small loan business

MGL c.167 Supervision of banks

MGL c.167A Bank holding companies

MGL c.167B Electronic branches and electronic fund transfers

MGL c.167C Bank locations

MGL c.167D Deposits and accounts

MGL c.167E Mortgages and loans

MGL c.167F Investments and other powers

MGL c.167G Trust department

MGL c.167H Mutual holding companies

MGL c.167I Corporate bank transactions: mergers, consolidations, purchase of assets and conversions

MGL c.167J Corporate governance provisions and requirements

MGL c.168 Savings banks

MGL c.169 Receipts of deposits for transmittal to foreign countries

MGL c.169A Licensing of check cashers

MGL c.170 Co-operative banks

MGL c.171 Credit unions

MGL c.184, § 17B 1/2 Variable or adjustable subprime loans for first-time home loan borrowers

MGL c.271, § 49 Criminal usury

>Massachusetts regulations

201 CMR 16 Placing, lifting and removal of security freezes (Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation)

209 CMR Division of Banks regulations

>Federal oversight & laws

FDIC: Law, regulations, related acts
This page compiles links to banking-related statutes, regulations, and similar material relevant to the work of the FDIC.

Laws & regulations, OCC.
"The OCC is the primary regulator of banks chartered under the National Bank Act (12 USC 1 et seq.) and federal savings associations chartered under the Home Owners' Loan Act of 1933 (12 USC 1461 et seq.). The OCC's regulations, derived from these acts, are in title 12 of the Code of Federal Regulations, 'Banks and Banking' (12 CFR 1–199)."

>Federal regulations

12 CFR 226 Regulation Z Truth in lending

12 CFR 7.4001 Charging interest by national banks at rates permitted competing institutions; charging interest to corporate borrowers

Comprehensive list of banking regulations from the Federal Reserve Board.

>Web sources

Bank accounts and services, U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
When choosing and using your bank or credit union account, it’s important to know your options.

Compliance with Regulation CC: a guide for financial institutions, Federal Reserve Board.
Explains when your money will be available to you after you deposit it in a bank.

Financial industry resources, Division of Banks.
Resources on this page include "opinions, decisions, industry letters, Regulatory Bulletins, activity reports, industry guidances, forms, applications, and more."

Financial resources for consumers, Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.
Provides links to Mass. information on banking, loans, credit reporting, debt collection, filing a complaint
and more.

Pace Law Library research guide
This research guide will introduce users to major primary and secondary resources in U.S. federal banking law. (Note: the state resources are not applicable to Mass.)

>Print sources

Banking 101, MCLE New England, 2013.

Computation of service or interest charge on bank credit cards as usurious under National Bank Act (12 U.S.C.A. § 85), 38 A.L.R. Fed. 805.

Truth in lending, NCLC, 2023.

Contact for Massachusetts law about credit, banking, and interest rates

Last updated: October 31, 2023

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