Credit, broadly defined, is the provision of money on the assumption that compensation for it will come later, or over time. Consumer credit is simply credit extended to individuals in order to purchase consumer goods or services. Most people living in St. Joseph, Missouri deal with at least one form of consumer credit every day: credit cards. In fact, credit cards are one of the largest sources of consumer debt in the United States.
Why can't I Get Credit in St. Joseph, Missouri?
If you can't get credit in St. Joseph, Missouri, the most likely reason is that you have a poor credit score. In St. Joseph, Missouri, 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 take relevant information, such as one's credit-to-debt ratio, and past-due payments, and use complex mathematical equations to generate a numerical score. Relatively few people know what these exact formulas are, since they are well-guarded trade secrets.
Under U.S. law, you have a right to view your own credit report once a year, for free (you can, of course, view 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 affirmatively 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 St. Joseph, Missouri?
To improve your credit, there are many 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. It will also help to show that you can use credit responsibly. For example, if you have little to no credit history in St. Joseph, and want to quickly build a positive credit rating, you can get a credit card, and make a few very small purchases with it each 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 entire balance.
Because credit reports are meant to be used by potential lenders to assess 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 St. Joseph, Missouri Lawyer Help?
A good Lawyer specializing in consumer bankruptcy or other consumer finance issues in St. Joseph, Missouri can be instrumental in resolving consumer debt issues. These issues can be complex and frustrating, and a Lawyer can make the navigation of them much easier.