Consumer credit is any type of credit extended to an ordinary consumer. Credit, broadly defined, is the provision of a resource (normally 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 Oakland, California deal with at least one common type of consumer credit on a regular basis: credit cards. Credit card debt is one of the largest sources of individual debt in the U.S.
Why can't I Get Credit in Oakland, California?
If you are unable to get credit in Oakland, California, it might be because you have a poor credit score. Credit scores in Oakland, California are compiled by private companies known as "credit bureaus." These companies gather all the available information about a person's finances, and then assign them a numerical score, which provides a quick assessment of the risk they represent to a lender. The exact formulas that these companies use to generate credit scores are closely-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 opportunity 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 normally have to do so over the phone, and can't do it online.
How Can I Improve My Credit Score in Oakland, California?
To improve your credit, there are various things you can do. First of all, you should report any errors you see on your credit report to the credit bureau. These companies sometimes make mistakes, and some of them can seriously damage your credit score. It's also good to show that you can use credit responsibly. For example, someone with no credit history in Oakland might get a credit card, and use it for a few modest purchases each month, and then pay down the entire balance at the end of the month. This is a good way to quickly obtain a good credit score.
Because credit reports are usually meant to make it easier for potential lenders to assess your risk as a borrower, showing that you pay back your debts in a timely manner can go a long way in creating a good credit score.
How Can a Oakland, California Lawyer Help?
An experienced Oakland, California Attorney specializing in consumer financial issues can help if you believe that your credit score reflects false information, or if you think a third party has maliciously damaged it.