Broadly defined, consumer credit is any type of loan given to individuals in order to buy consumer goods. Most people living in Albany, Oregon 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 Albany, Oregon?
If you're having trouble getting credit in Albany, Oregon the most likely explanation is that you have no credit history, or a poor credit score. In Albany, Oregon, private companies called "credit bureaus" gather a person's credit score using all available information about their finances, including their debt-to-credit ratio, records of evictions, and late payments. All of this information is fed into complex mathematical algorithms that calculate a numerical score. Exactly how these scores are calculated is known to very few people, since the formulas used are tightly-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 Albany, Oregon?
The first thing you can do to improve your credit score is to check your report for errors. These companies are not infallible, and sometimes make mistakes in compiling your credit report, including very serious ones. If you find an error, you should report it to the credit bureau, and they will normally fix it. 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 Albany you might 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 each month. This takes a bit of discipline, but it is a good way to quickly establish a good credit rating.
Credit reports are a tool for lenders to assess how risky it is to loan money to someone. Therefore, showing that you routinely pay your debts in a timely manner is the best way to maintain a good score.
How Can a Albany, Oregon Lawyer Help?
A good Albany, Oregon 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.