Credit, broadly defined, is the provision of money on the assumption that payment for it will come later, or over time. Consumer credit is simply credit extended to individuals in order to buy consumer goods or services. Most people living in Gladstone, Missouri deal with at least one form of consumer credit every day: credit cards. In fact, credit cards are one of the biggest sources of consumer debt in the United States.
Why can't I Get Credit in Gladstone, Missouri?
If you can't get credit in Gladstone, Missouri, the most likely explanation is that you have a bad credit score. In Gladstone, Missouri, 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 individuals exactly how your credit score is calculated, because the formulas used by these companies are closely-guarded trade secrets.
Under U.S. law, you have a right to see your own credit report once a year, for free (you can, of course, see it more times than that, but you'll likely have to pay a credit bureau. You should be cautious, however. Many websites claim to offer "free" credit reports, but require a credit card number in order to register. If you do not explicitly cancel your membership (which can usually only be done over the phone, and not online), they will start charging you a monthly fee.
How Can I Improve My Credit Score in Gladstone, Missouri?
To improve your credit, there are numerous things you can do. First of all, you should report any mistakes you see on your credit report to the credit bureau. These companies sometimes make errors, 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 modest purchases per week in Gladstone, 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 Gladstone, Missouri Lawyer Help?
A good Gladstone, Missouri 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.