Consumer credit is any form of loan extended by some lending institution, usually a bank, to individuals for the purchase of consumer goods. Most people living in Richmond, Virginia 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 Richmond, Virginia?
If you're having trouble getting credit in Richmond, Virginia the most likely reason is that you have no credit history, or a bad credit score. Credit scores in Richmond, Virginia are calculated by private companies known as "credit bureaus." These entities collect all the available information about your finances, look at how much debt you have, if you've paid it back in a timely manner, and other factors, and calculate a numerical score. This number provides possible lenders with a quick estimate of how risky it is to lend money to a person. The exact formulas that these companies employ to create credit scores are 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 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 Richmond, Virginia?
The first thing you can do to improve your credit score is to check your report for errors. These companies are not perfect, and sometimes make errors in compiling your credit report, including extremely serious ones. If you find an error, you should report it to the credit bureau, and they will usually fix it. It's also good to show that you can use credit responsibly. For example, someone with no credit history in Richmond may get a credit card, and use it for a few affordable purchases every month, and then pay down the whole balance at the end of the month. This is a good way to quickly obtain a good credit score.
Credit reports are primarily meant to be used by lenders to determine the risk of a prospective borrower. For this reason, how one handles debt is a major factor in one's credit score. Paying all of your debts in a timely manner is a good way to keep a high credit score.
How Can a Richmond, Virginia Lawyer Help?
A good attorney specializing in consumer bankruptcy or other consumer finance issues in Richmond, Virginia can be instrumental in resolving consumer debt concerns. These issues can be complex and frustrating, and an attorney can make the navigation of them much easier.