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 Whitefish, Montana 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 Whitefish, Montana?
If you can't get credit in Whitefish, Montana, it could be because you have a poor credit score, or simply don't have any credit history. In Whitefish, Montana, credit scores are created by private corporations called "credit bureaus." These companies gather 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.
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 hurting your credit, and to report any false information contained in your report. There are many 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 Whitefish, Montana?
To improve your credit rating, you can do a few relatively simple things. First, you should check your credit report for errors, and report them to the credit bureau so they can be corrected. It's also good to show that you can use credit responsibly. For example, someone with no credit history in Whitefish might get a credit card, and use it for a few modest purchases each month, and then pay down the entire balance at the end of the month. This is a good way to quickly obtain a good credit score.
Credit reports are meant to be a tool for lenders to easily assess a person's risk as a borrower. Therefore, showing that you are able to pay back your debts on time can be very effective in creating a good credit score.
How Can a Whitefish, Montana Lawyer Help?
A good Whitefish, Montana Lawyer knowledgeable in consumer finance issues can help you address the more complicated problems that might arise in this area, such as a credit bureau's refusal to remove an error from a credit report, identity theft, or a third party attempting to maliciously harm your credit score.