With COVID-19 cases resurging across America, folks are worried about their health and safety, but even with these issues in the forefront of their minds, financial and economic issues are just as important. Millions of Americans have been impacted financially by the pandemic. Now more than ever, your financial future is dependent on protecting your credit. If you miss any critical payments, your credit score will take a hit, and that will directly impact your eligibility for new loans or credit lines in the future.
Even if you lost you or your spouse lost income or suffered illness that racked up medical debt during the pandemic, there are things you can do to protect your credit. Here are some tasks you can do to safeguard your credit during these difficult and abnormally challenging times:
Check Your Credit Reports Routinely
This is one of those times people get so caught up in the chaos happening around them that scammers are able to get away with identity theft. Additionally, since human error can be reflected on credit reports, mistakes can pop up in your credit history. Payments or paid in full debts are often omitted. That is why it’s crucial to request a credit report on a regular basis and thoroughly review it.
Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, the three credit reporting agencies, collate reports that you have the right to access for free. You can visit AnnualCreditReport.com for your free credit report once per year. You might have to answer security questions to prove your identity, but once you have retrieved access, you can dispute any inaccuracies or errors that you find immediately within your report.
Talk to Lenders If You Are Struggling to Make Payments
There are so many moratoriums and assistance programs out there right now, it would be a shame if you did not get the help that you need. In addition, the CARES Act stipulated strict requirements for companies that report to credit agencies during this economic crisis. If you are struggling to pay your bills on-time, reach out to the companies that you owe.
The CARES Act has enacted a variety of laws to provide you flexible terms through your creditors. You might be surprised when talking to your creditors. You might be eligible for lower interest rates or forbearance. If you have a loan, you might be eligible for an extension or new repayment terms. The only way you will find out is by contacting all of your creditors to find out how they can help you.
Pay As Much As You Can Afford To
You might not be able to pay an entire bill, but whatever you can pay is better than nothing. If you can avoid making late payments, obviously, that is the best for your credit reports, however. If you make any arrangements with a creditor or lender, be sure to make those payments as agreed. If you cannot, then you need to call the creditor or lender and see if you can work out new arrangements. The same applies to your cell phone bill, utilities, cable, and any other providers of service.
You Can Add a Consumer Statement on Your Credit Report
Did you know that you can add a 100-word freeform statement to your credit report? Usually, people do this when they disagree with a specific item on their report. These are called “account specific” statements. However, if you have experienced financial difficulty during the COVID-19 pandemic, you can add a “personal statement” to your credit report. You can submit a consumer statement to any of the (or all three) credit reporting bureaus online or by mail.
If You Need Financial Help
This is a difficult time for people across America. In fact, we have heard it over and over again - these are unprecedented times. If you were already experiencing a high debt load before the pandemic, you might want to consider filing bankruptcy. Speak to a reputable bankruptcy attorney or financial consultant to find out what your options are and how you should proceed from here. There is help. All you have to do is ask for it.
Are You Considering Filing For Bankruptcy?
If you feel bankruptcy is the best option for your financial situation you need to speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our office directly at 888.348.2616 to schedule your free consultation.