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 Washougal, Washington 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 Washougal, Washington?

If you are unable to get credit in Washougal, Washington, it may be because you have a bad credit score. In Washougal, Washington, 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 compile relevant information, such as one's credit-to-debt ratio, and past-due payments, and use complex mathematical algorithms to produce a numerical score. Very few people know what these exact formulas are, since they are well-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 affecting your credit, and to report any incorrect information contained in your report. There are various 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 difficult by requiring that you cancel your membership by phone, rather than letting you do it online.

How Can I Improve My Credit Score in Washougal, Washington?

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 Washougal 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.

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 Washougal, Washington Lawyer Help?

A good Washougal, Washington 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.