Consumer credit is a form 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 instantly compensated. Instead, the parties agree on payment at a later date, or in periodic installments. Many people in Columbia, Maryland deal with 1 form of consumer credit almost every day: credit cards. These small pieces of plastic are one of the largest sources of consumer debt in the United States.
Why can't I Get Credit in Columbia, Maryland?
If you're having trouble getting credit in Columbia, Maryland the most likely reason is that you have no credit history, or a bad credit score. Credit scores in Columbia, Maryland are compiled by private companies known as "credit bureaus." These companies gather all the available information about a person's finances, and then give them a numerical score, which provides a quick determination of the risk they represent to a lender. The exact formulas that these companies use to generate credit scores are closely-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 hard by requiring that you cancel your membership by phone, rather than letting you do it online.
How Can I Improve My Credit Score in Columbia, Maryland?
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 Columbia 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 a tool for lenders to determine how risky it is to loan money to someone. Therefore, showing that you consistently pay your debts in a timely manner is the best way to maintain a good score.
How Can a Columbia, Maryland Lawyer Help?
A good attorney specializing in consumer bankruptcy or other consumer finance issues in Columbia, Maryland can be instrumental in resolving consumer debt concerns. These issues can be complex and frustrating, and a attorney can make the navigation of them much easier.