Massachusetts law about credit, banking, and interest rates

A compilation of laws, regulations, cases, and web sources on credit, banking, and interest rate law.

If you are unable to find the information you are looking for, or if you have a specific question, please contact our law librarians for assistance.

Table of Contents

Massachusetts laws on credit

Massachusetts laws on interest rates

MGL c.271, § 49 Criminal usury

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

MGL c.140, § 96 Small loan business

Massachusetts regulations

201 CMR 16 Office of Consumer Affairs, Placing, lifting and removal of security freezes 

209 CMR Division of Banking regulations

Federal laws

15 USC §§ 1601 et. seq. Truth in Lending Act

15 USC §§ 1681 et seq. Fair Credit Reporting Act

12 USC § 85 Rate of interest on loans, discounts and purchases

PL 111-24 Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, the Credit CARD Act of 2009

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

Selected case law

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

Boost your credit I.Q.: limitations on interest rates and late charges (for credit cards), Mass. Attorney General.
"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."

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.

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

Credit card agreement database, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

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

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

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

Disputing Credit Card Charges, Federal Trade Commission.
Billing rights and dispute procedures under the Fair Credit Billing Act. A complaint may be filed online with the FTC, that enforces the FCBA. 

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

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.

What Is Buy Now, Pay Later?, NerdWallet, 2022.
Covers the pros and cons of the new debt option.  Warnings that it can be easy to overspend and may eventually impact your credit.

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.

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 discrimination, NCLC, 2022.

Credit repair by Amy Loftsgordon, Nolo, 2020.

Truth in lending, NCLC, 2019.

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Last updated: November 8, 2022
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