CREDIT: No Easy Terms

Easy credit, which has helped boost installment debt in the U.S. to a record $39.5 billion, is often mighty hard on the consumer. So a parade of witnesses have testified before a Senate Banking and Currency Subcommittee chaired by Illinois Democrat Paul Douglas. He and 17 other Senators are pushing a bill to require credit agencies to give buyers a complete list of financing costs to prevent lenders from cheating borrowers with exorbitant interest rates.

Car buyers, said witnesses, are among the most gullible of installment buyers. Recently, said Victor H. Nyborg, president of the Association of Better Business Bureaus,...

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