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CFPB to help even more consumers understand financial terms

The CFPB has taken additional steps to protect individuals with limited English abilities, ensuring they will be better protected from fraud and scams.

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CFPB on a quest to make layman’s terms available for all

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s initial goal was to help curb future economic crashes by educating consumers and changing disclosure forms so the language was understandable, not in financial jargon. Disclosures are now in “human” terms, so buying a house is no longer a perilous journey of potential pitfalls and searching for clauses buried on page 70 that could impact your decision to purchase.

The CFPB has taken additional steps to protect individuals with limited English abilities will be better protected. According to the CFPB, these individuals may be more likely to fall victim to frauds and schemes, and often face greater difficulty managing their finances on a day-to-day basis.

“The Newcomer’s Guides to Managing Money”

In an effort to prevent this from occurring, the CFPB developed the Newcomer’s Guides to Managing Money, providing recent immigrants with straightforward, jargon-free, information about basic financial decisions.

These guides help newcomers navigate the U.S. banking system, especially in differentiating legitimate financial services from scams and schemes aimed at draining their finances. The Newcomer’s Guide to Managing Money examines four basic topics: selecting financial products and services, a checklist of things to know when opening an account, ways to pay your bills, and finally, ways to receive money.

Walking consumers through basic situations

Consider getting your very first paycheck and you are uncertain whether to cash it, or place it in the bank. These new guides can walk newly employed individuals through the steps of successfully managing their money. The checklist for opening an account, helps ensure individuals bring all the necessary paperwork with them if they decide to open an account.

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The ways to pay your bills section compares the benefits and risks of paying regular and one-time bills by check or money order, by direct debit, online, or in cash. The financial services guide provides information about common transactions, including ATM cash withdrawals and debit card purchases.

Aimed at the inexperienced, but good for other types of consumers

While these guides are aimed at workers with limited experience, I think young workers could benefit from taking a look at them as well. Many times young people enter the workforce and have not had anyone show them the basics of banking and managing their money. These guides can give them a good idea of where to start. Each guide is available in PDF form and contains information on how any individual can file a complaint, should they run into issues with fraudulent products or services.

Currently, the guides are available in English and Spanish, but the CFPB hopes to add additional languages in the next several months.


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Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

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