Consumer credit is any form of credit extended to an ordinary consumer. Credit, broadly defined, is the provision of a resource (typically money) from one party to another, where the first party does not expect to be immediately compensated. Instead, the parties arrange for payment to come at a later date, or over time, in installments. Many people in Birmingham, Alabama deal with consumer credit every day in the form of credit cards. In fact, credit cards are one of the biggest sources of individual debt in the U.S.
Why can't I Get Credit in Birmingham, Alabama?
If you're having trouble getting credit in Birmingham, Alabama the most likely reason is that you have no credit history, or a bad credit score. In Birmingham, Alabama, private companies called "credit bureaus" collect a person's credit score using all available information about their finances, including their debt-to-credit ratio, records of evictions, and late payments. All of this information is fed into complex mathematical equations that calculate a numerical score. Precisely how these scores are calculated is known to very few people, since the formulas used are tightly-guarded trade secrets.
Under U.S. law, you are legally entitled to one free credit report per year. This allows you to perform a simple financial check-up, to see what's affecting your credit, and to report any incorrect information contained in your report. There are various websites that provide easy access to this information, but most of them require registration with a credit card. Once you view your free report, they will begin charging you a monthly fee unless you opt out. Some of them make this challenging by requiring that you cancel your membership by phone, rather than letting you do it online.
How Can I Improve My Credit Score in Birmingham, Alabama?
To improve your credit rating, there are various things you can do. First, you should check your credit report for mistakes and report them to the credit bureau. These companies can make errors like anyone else, and sometimes these errors can damage your score. It will also help to show that you can use credit responsibly. For example, if you have little to no credit history in Birmingham, and want to rapidly build a good credit score, you can get a credit card, and make a few very small purchases with it every month. Make sure you don't run up a balance that you can't immediately pay off in full, and at the end of each month, pay the whole balance.
Because credit reports are meant to be used by possible lenders to determine somebody's risk as a borrower, showing that you always (or close to it) pay your debts in a timely manner is the best way to improve your credit score, and to keep it high.
How Can a Birmingham, Alabama Lawyer Help?
A good attorney in Birmingham, Alabama can be very useful in helping you resolve any consumer credit issue, such as bankruptcy, or getting mistakes removed from your report if the credit bureau is being difficult.