Protecting your credit during COVID-19

Whether you qualify for forbearance on certain credit accounts during this time or may have to miss a payment or two due to the negative impacts of COVID-19, here are a few ways to ensure your credit score is protected.

Here is how to check your credit report for free

Because of the pandemic, there is now a free and unlimited way to check your credit report.  Annualcreditreport.com is now offering consumers a way to view their credit reports as many times as needed.  Prior to the pandemic, consumers were only able to check their credit reports once per year from each credit reporting agency.  This is a good way to ensure your report is accurate and free from any mistakes.  In addition, this also helps to ensure you were not a victim of identity theft (Keep in mind, SBA recently reported more than 8,000 loan applications were subject to a data leak).

How will deferred payments impact my credit score?

If you have been granted deferred payments or forbearance by a creditor, these deferments will not impact your credit score.  But the key is – you have to get approval from your creditor first.  If you do not, these missed payments will impact your credit score.  For this reason, it is important to contact your creditor and request a formal agreement with them.

How has the recent CARES Act impacted credit scores?

If you receive a forbearance under the CARES Act, your account will remain in good standing and will not impact your credit score.  The CARES Act requires your report to remain this way throughout the time it is on paused.  However, if your account was delinquent prior to the forbearance (past due or 30 days + late), it will remain this way throughout.

What should you do if you are having issues with payments?

You should contact your creditor immediately.  Make an arrangement to ensure you are both in agreement regarding payments now and in the future. It is important to note, if you miss payments without getting an approved forbearance or payment arrangement, it will negatively impact your credit score.

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