Consumer credit is a type of loan extended to ordinary consumers to buy consumer goods. Credit, broadly defined, is the provision of money from one entity to another, where the lender does not expect to be immediately compensated. Instead, the parties agree on payment at a later date, or in periodic installments. Many people in Northampton, Massachusetts deal with 1 type of consumer credit almost every day: credit cards. These tiny pieces of plastic are one of the biggest sources of consumer debt in the United States.

Why can't I Get Credit in Northampton, Massachusetts?

The most likely explanation as to why a Northampton, Massachusetts bank won't give you a credit card or loan is that you have bad credit. In Northampton, Massachusetts, credit scores are created by private corporations called "credit bureaus." These companies collect all the available financial information on a person (such as the amount of credit currently available to them, and its ratio to their debt) and use it to calculate a simple numerical score. This number gives would-be lenders an easy way to assess a person's risk as a borrower. It is not known to many people exactly how your credit score is calculated, because the formulas used by these companies 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 typically have to do so over the phone, and can't do it online.

How Can I Improve My Credit Score in Northampton, Massachusetts?

To improve your credit, there are numerous 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. 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 inexpensive purchases per week in Northampton, then paying the entire balance at the end of the month.

Credit reports are generally meant to be used by lenders to assess the risk of a prospective borrower. For this reason, how one handles debt is a major factor in one's credit score. Paying all of your debts in a timely manner is a good way to maintain a high credit score.

How Can a Northampton, Massachusetts Lawyer Help?

A good lawyer who practices consumer bankruptcy or other financial practice areas in Northampton, Massachusetts can be very helpful in resolving consumer debt issues. These issues can be very complex, and an attorney can make it much easier to navigate them.