Consumer credit is any form of loan provided by some lending institution, usually a bank, to individuals for the purchase of consumer goods. Most people living in Whatcom County, 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 Whatcom County, Washington?
If you are unable to get credit in Whatcom County, Washington, it may be because you have a bad credit score. In Whatcom County, 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 challenging by requiring that you cancel your membership by phone, rather than letting you do it online.
How Can I Improve My Credit Score in Whatcom County, 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 typically fix it. It will also help to show that you can use credit responsibly. For example, if you have little to no credit history in Whatcom County, and want to rapidly build a good credit score, you can get a credit card, and make a few very small purchases with it every 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 whole balance.
Credit reports are a tool for lenders to determine how risky it is to loan money to someone. Therefore, showing that you consistently pay your debts in a timely manner is the best way to maintain a good score.
How Can a Whatcom County, Washington Lawyer Help?
A good attorney specializing in consumer bankruptcy or other consumer finance issues in Whatcom County, Washington 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.