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 Hagerstown, Maryland deal with 1 form of consumer credit almost every day: credit cards. These tiny pieces of plastic are one of the largest sources of consumer debt in the United States.
Why can't I Get Credit in Hagerstown, Maryland?
If you're having trouble getting credit in Hagerstown, Maryland the most likely reason is that you have no credit history, or a bad credit score. Credit scores in Hagerstown, Maryland are compiled by private companies known as "credit bureaus." These companies collect 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.
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 typically have to do so over the phone, and can't do it online.
How Can I Improve My Credit Score in Hagerstown, Maryland?
To improve your credit rating, there are various 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 Hagerstown, then paying the entire amount at the end of the month.
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 Hagerstown, Maryland Lawyer Help?
An experienced Hagerstown, Maryland lawyer specializing in consumer financial issues can help if you believe that your credit rating reflects false information, or if you think a third party has maliciously damaged it.