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 Berkeley, California 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 Berkeley, California?
If you can't get credit in Berkeley, California, it could be because you have a bad credit score, or simply don't have any credit history. In Berkeley, California, 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.
U.S. law states you are entitled to one credit report per year for free. This will allow you to see your credit score, and any factors that might be hurting it, which can help you improve it in the future. You should be aware, however, that numerous websites offering a "free" credit report will start charging you a monthly fee a month after you register, and then make it very challenging for you to cancel your membership, requiring you to do so over the phone rather than online. They also may only tell you about this fee in the fine print.a
How Can I Improve My Credit Score in Berkeley, California?
To make your credit rating better, there are a few simple things you can do. First of all, you should check your report for mistakes and report them to the credit bureau to be corrected. It also helps to show that you are willing to use credit, but can do so responsibly. For example, if you have little to no credit history in Berkeley you may consider getting a credit card, making a few small purchases each month on it, and then paying off the balance in full at the end of every month. This takes a bit of discipline, but it is a good way to rapidly establish a good credit rating.
Credit reports are meant to be a tool for lenders to easily determine a person's risk as a borrower. Therefore, showing that you are able to pay back your debts on time can be extremely effective in creating a good credit score.
How Can a Berkeley, California Lawyer Help?
A good Berkeley, California 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.