COVID-19 has disrupted and overturned the lives of many because of state-wide stay-at-home mandates. Though designed to stop the spread of the virus, the order also caused millions of U.S. workers to lose their jobs, or to have their income cut because of reduced work hours. Many of those affected by the pandemic may heavily rely on credit cards to make ends meet.
For many, this unexpected financial hardship will negatively impact their credit score. The latest report in its Consumer Financial Hardship study shows three out of five Americans claim to be affected financially by the pandemic. Another 10% expect to be impacted in the future. Your payment history is a record of on-time, late and missed payments for all current and past credit accounts.
How to Get a Copy of Your Credit Score
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires Equifax, Experian and TransUnion to provide you with one free credit report per year. All you have to do is request one on the annual credit report website. You will be asked for your personal information and to verify your identity by answering security questions regarding your finances.
The three major credit bureaus- Experian, Equifax and Transunion, have all announced that they are offering free credit reports to all Americans on a weekly basis. This gives Americans a way to protect their financial health during the COVID-19 pandemic. The free reports will be available through April 2021.
Previously, you were entitled to one free credit report from each bureau per year. That number has been increased to as many as 156 over the next year, if you so choose.
Monitoring Your Credit Report
When monitoring your credit report, it is important to keep an eye out for common credit report errors and signs of fraud.
If you do notice any errors on your report, dispute them as soon as you can. The consumer reporting agency is then required to provide the information that you give to them to the creditor who has reported the debt. That creditor must investigate the dispute reasonably and report any inaccuracies. The credit reporters will then provide you with information regarding the investigation and, hopefully, they will correct the inaccuracy.
If they fail to fix the problem then, and only then, can you file a claim against the creditor for placing inaccurate or misleading information on your credit report.
Our firm handles Fair Credit Reporting Act cases on a contingency basis, meaning no attorney fees are owed unless we recover compensation for you. Maginnis Law handles FCRA cases all over North Carolina.
If you have any questions regarding this blog post or want to speak with one of firm’s consumer law attorneys, feel free to call our firm at (919) 526-0405 or through our contact page.