The number of issues to contend with during these unprecedented times might feel exhausting. It’s important to recognize that you aren’t in this alone though, and that there are a number of resources available to help consumers with credit reporting questions or concerns resulting from the COVID-19 Pandemic. Here are 4 ways you can stay smart with your credit during these unforeseen circumstances:
1.) Order your free weekly credit report.
In the wake of the COVID-19, the three credit bureaus have adjusted their policy to enable consumers to pull their credit reports once per week, every week until April 2021. To access your free weekly credit report, visit AnnualCreditReport.com. Since reports are updated constantly, checking yours once per week can give you a better understanding about how certain actions may impact your credit. It is recommended that consumers take advantage of this service before making an application for new credit, to confirm everything is properly reflective and without disputes. To learn how to request your free weekly credit report, read our blog post.
2.) Dispute Errors on Your Report.
If you believe there’s an error on your credit report, take the following steps:
- Determine if you should contact the furnisher of the report, i.e., the bank or the credit card company. Sometimes, you can go directly to the furnisher before contacting the bureau and ask them to fix the error at the source.
- If this doesn’t resolve the issue, send a letter to the bureau that produced your report (either Experian, TransUnion, or Equifax) and explain in writing why you think something is wrong.
- The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act requires such disputes to be resolved within 30 days or up to 45 days if you deliver additional documentation to support your dispute.
- Review the results. The Bureaus are required to send a free, updated copy of your credit report if the dispute resulted in any changes.
- If you have had adverse action taken against you as a result from a credit report delivered by Data Facts, and you have something you wish to dispute, please contact us at (901) 685-7599.
3.) Know the Consequences of Taking Loan Forbearance
Under the CARES Act, lenders are assisting borrowers with accommodations to payment requirements. You are encouraged to contact your creditors if you have suffered economic hardship due to COVID-19. Ask your creditor(s) about all your options, as well as the long-term implications of taking an accommodation.
The CARES Act requires that lenders report accommodations to the credit bureaus with applicable “forbearance”, “deferment”, or “account impacted by natural disaster” notations. Although an accommodation will not have a negative impact on your credit score, these notations may appear on your report, which could potentially impact your ability to secure future financing.
4.) Don’t Let Your Guard Down.
Continue to keep your credit file under a lock or credit freeze. Now is not the time to let your guard down. Fraudsters are still out there actively trying to take advantage of vulnerabilities caused by COVID-19. Contact Experian, TransUnion and Equifax to freeze or lock your credit file to unauthorized access. For more information about credit freezes and locks, check out this blog post.