Financial products and services are crucial in helping millions of Americans spend, save, borrow, and invest. Nevertheless, many contain hidden risks that can increase debt, drain savings, and damage credit.

Pew has worked to ensure that financial products many Americans use every day, including checking accounts and credit cards are fair and transparent for consumers. Pew’s focus on consumer finance includes successfully advocating for passage of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Card Act—a comprehensive reform of U.S. law designed to protect Americans and their families from unfair or deceptive practices. Today, Pew continues to focus on safe checking while also working on small-dollar loans and improving prepaid card disclosures. Pew developed a disclosure box that provides critical information in a concise, easy-to-read manner.

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Why Do Millions of U.S. Homebuyers Use Risky Financing Options?

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Homes come in all shapes and sizes—and so do the loans needed to buy them. For many prospective buyers, obtaining a traditional, safe 15- or 30-year mortgage is a key step to achieving financial security and their dream of homeownership. But for borrowers looking to buy a home valued under $150,000, financing can be hard to come by, and the available options are often risky—even for those with good credit.

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