Worried about if the pandemic is affecting your credit? Here’s good news to help you monitor your credit status: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, the three major credit rating bureaus, are now offering free weekly online reports through April 2021. Normally, you are entitled to one report per year for free, so this is a great tool and it’s important that you take advantage of it.
The three nationwide credit reporting companies have joined forces to make it easy for you to request your reports through a central website annualcreditreport.com. Beware of pretenders that will try to charge you – this is the only authorized way to get free credit reports.
Why it’s important to monitor your credit reports
Your credit report is a historical record of your credit activity and loan paying history. Lenders use this information when you look to open a credit card, borrow money to buy a house or a car, or take a loan for other purposes. Credit reports may affect your mortgage rates, credit card approvals, apartment requests, or even your job application. In some states, they can be a factor in your insurance premium. Reviewing your credit report helps you ensure that its accurate and may help you spot signs of identity theft early.
It’s particularly important that you review your reports now if the pandemic has caused any disruption in your finances or if you took advantage of any financial aid through the CARES Act, which allowed postponement of some federally backed mortgages and federal student loans through September 30. Your credit should not be affected by this, but Consumer Reports says that some people are experiencing problems. See: How to Protect Your Credit Score During the Coronavirus Pandemic
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an official US government website, also offers helpful information on protecting your credit during the coronavirus pandemic. They also maintain an excellent library of resources, and tools to help you protect your finances during the coronavirus pandemic.
Each of the major credit bureaus also offer advice, tools and resources on protecting your credit through the pandemic:
- Experian: COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Resources and Credit Education
- Equifax: COVID + Credit: Help to navigate financially in a global pandemic
- Transunion: COVID-19 Support Center – access from the front page link