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 Punta Gorda, Florida deal with 1 form of consumer credit almost every day: credit cards. These little pieces of plastic are one of the largest sources of consumer debt in the United States.
Why can't I Get Credit in Punta Gorda, Florida?
If you're having trouble getting credit in Punta Gorda, Florida the most likely reason is that you have no credit history, or a bad credit score. Credit scores in Punta Gorda, Florida are calculated by private companies known as "credit bureaus." These entities collect all the available information about your finances, look at how much debt you have, if you've paid it back in a timely manner, and other factors, and calculate a numerical score. This number provides possible lenders with a quick estimate of how risky it is to lend money to a person. The exact formulas that these companies employ to create credit scores are 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 Punta Gorda, Florida?
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, you should show that you are willing to use credit, but able to do so responsibly. For example, using a credit card for a few modest purchases per week in Punta Gorda, then paying the entire amount at the end of the month.
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 Punta Gorda, Florida Lawyer Help?
A good Punta Gorda, Florida 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.