Consumer credit is any form of credit extended to an ordinary consumer. Credit, broadly defined, is the provision of a resource (usually 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 Decatur, 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 Decatur, Alabama?
If you're having trouble getting credit in Decatur, Alabama the most likely reason is that you have no credit history, or a bad credit score. In Decatur, Alabama, private companies called "credit bureaus" compile 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.
In the U.S., you have a legal right to view your credit report for free, once per year. This is a good chance to perform a financial check-up, and see if there are any errors on your report which need to be corrected. While some third-party companies will give you a free credit report through their website, you should be aware that many of them (without making this clear up-front) will begin charging a monthly fee afterwards, in exchange for continued access. If you just wanted the one free report, you can opt out of this, but you usually have to do so over the phone, and can't do it online.
How Can I Improve My Credit Score in Decatur, Alabama?
To improve your credit rating, there are countless 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. Also, it's good to show that you know how to use credit responsibly. For example, a person in Decatur with no credit history can rapidly build up a good credit rating by getting a credit card, making a few small purchases with it, and then paying the entire balance at the end of each billing cycle.
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 Decatur, Alabama Lawyer Help?
A good Decatur, Alabama attorney knowledgeable in consumer finance issues can help you address the more complicated problems that may arise in this area, such as a credit bureau's refusal to remove an mistake from a credit report, identity theft, or a third party trying to maliciously harm your credit score.