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 Tampa, 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 Tampa, Florida?
If you're having trouble getting credit in Tampa, Florida the most likely reason is that you have no credit history, or a bad credit score. In Tampa, Florida, credit reports are prepared by private companies that have access to a great deal of financial information about almost anyone who has a Social Security Number. These companies are called "credit bureaus." They collect relevant information, such as one's credit-to-debt ratio, and past-due payments, and use complex mathematical algorithms to produce a numerical score. Very few people know what these exact formulas are, since they are well-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 countless 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 difficult by requiring that you cancel your membership by phone, rather than letting you do it online.
How Can I Improve My Credit Score in Tampa, Florida?
The first thing you can do to improve your credit score is to check your report for errors. These companies are not perfect, and sometimes make errors in compiling your credit report, including extremely serious ones. If you find an error, you should report it to the credit bureau, and they will usually fix it. It will also help to show that you can use credit responsibly. For example, if you have little to no credit history in Tampa, 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.
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 Tampa, Florida Lawyer Help?
A good attorney specializing in consumer bankruptcy or other consumer finance issues in Tampa, Florida can be instrumental in resolving consumer debt concerns. These issues can be complex and frustrating, and an attorney can make the navigation of them much easier.