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Consumer Information

Banking Accounts and Credit Cards

What is the prime rate? Does the Fed set the prime rate?
The prime rate is an interest rate determined by individual banks. Many banks set their prime rates based partly on the rate they charge each other for short-term loans. It’s often used as a reference rate or base rate for many types of loans, including loans to small businesses and credit card loans. The Fed’s "Selected Interest Rates” reports the prime rate for many of the 25 largest banks. 

Where can I find information on credit cards and credit card interest rates?
View the Fed’s current Consumer Credit-G.19 report for information.

Why do I receive notices of my privacy rights from banks and credit card issuers?
Federal law requires financial companies to share their privacy policies.

Check Use

What do I do if I have a problem with a check payment? 
Contact your bank no later than 40 days from the date your bank provided the substitute check.

What is electronic check conversion?
Electronic check conversion is a process in which your check is used as a source of information — for the check number, your account number and the number that identifies your financial institution. The information is then used to make a one-time electronic payment from your account — an electronic fund transfer. The check itself is not the method of payment.

Can I cash a check that is over 6 months old?
Check your state’s law for its specific rule. 

What is a routing number? How do I identify the financial institution assigned to a routing number?
A routing number is a nine-digit number that identifies an institution and its location. Also called an “ABA number,” a "routing transit number" or a “transit number,” routing numbers commonly appear in the lower left-hand corner of a personal check. The Official American Bankers Association Registrar of Routing Numbers assigns routing numbers.

How Do I

Open an account at the Federal Reserve?
Only depository institutions and certain other financial entities may open an account at a Federal Reserve Bank. 

Reclaim a lost or abandoned bank account?
If possible, contact the financial institution where you opened the account. If the institution no longer exists, contact your state banking agency

Prevent identity theft (fraudulent use of my personal information)?
The Federal Trade Commission has information about identity theft

Spot a financial fraud or a scam? 
Visit information about frauds and scams and the Bureau of the Public Debt. Report suspected scams to the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the U.S. Secret Service.

Get a copy of my credit report?
Equifax, Experian and TransUnion provide one free credit report every 12 months. Visit

Find the Fed’s foreclosure resource. 
Visit “Mortgage Foreclosure Resources.” 

File a consumer complaint about a bank?
Call or email Federal Reserve Consumer Help.

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