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Monday, October 1, 2001

Fed Facts Fed Web Site Explains Credit Card Offers to Consumers

The Federal Reserve has produced a new consumer-information brochure, "Shop: The Credit Card You Pick Can Save You Money." The brochure asks consumers to examine their spending and repayment habits and encourages them to comparison shop for credit.

Consumers learn how to calculate the cost and terms of a credit plan as well as the various formulas lenders use to calculate interest rates, finance charges and outstanding balances. Consumers also will find a glossary of terms, a diagram to help them decipher the information they receive in credit card solicitation materials and a "Credit Card Shopper's Checklist," which includes tips on shopping for a card and evaluating the cards consumers already have in their wallets.

The brochure can be found on the Federal Reserve Board's web site,

New Video Helps Prevent Identity Theft

As part of the Federal Reserve's ongoing commitment to consumer education, the Boston and San Francisco reserve banks have released a new consumer-education video entitled, "Identity Theft: Protect Yourself." The video details how easily financial information can get into the wrong hands, allowing criminals to unlawfully obtain credit in your name. The video teaches consumers about how to protect themselves through interviews with law-enforcement officials, industry representatives and crime victims. The video also outlines what consumers should do if they suspect that their identity has been stolen.

Copies of the video are available at $7.50 each, which includes postage and handling. Orders should be sent to The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Public and Community Affairs Department, ATTN: Identity Fraud Video, PO Box 2076, Boston, MA, 02106-2076. Checks or money orders must be included in the order and be made payable to the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

Resources Available for the Self-Employed

The Interagency Workgroup on Micro-enterprise Development, which includes Community Affairs staff from the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, has produced a new publication, Crossing the Bridge to Self-Employment—A Federal Micro-enterprise Resource Guide.

The publication discusses the various federally funded micro-enterprise programs that are available, provides case studies of entrepreneurs who have successfully used the programs, and highlights some of the banking regulatory agencies that support micro-enterprise development. To obtain copies of the publication, contact the Community Development Financial Institute Fund at (202) 622-8401.