By Kenya Mays
It has been almost a year of living through this pandemic. Many have lost jobs, homes and their normal way of life. Throughout all of the changes that COVID-19 has presented, one thing that has remained important is your credit matters. .
We constantly hear talks about credit reports, credit scores, credit freezes and credit monitoring. But what does it all really mean? Your credit matters, and will affect your ability to live and work comfortably once outside fully opens. It will certainly not look the same, however, you will want to work on your financial foundation as our new normal will begin. Are you fully prepared?
Here are the 3 things that you can do…..
- Order A Copy Of Your Credit Report. This has become an easy task as you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from Annualcreditreport.com from the three major credit bureaus : Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. As of right now, this is good until April 2021.
Make sure to check your reports for errors and be prepared to dispute any inaccurate information. Although credit bureaus have regularly had errors, they are now at an all time high of inaccurate reporting. It is important to review your reports at least once a month to ensure that you are not a victim and your credit report does not suffer.
- Call Your Lenders and See Programs They Offer. If you are having an issue with making your payments, reach out to the lenders and ask what programs do they have. Many lenders have programs that are catered to those who have been impacted by COVID-19. The names of these programs vary based on the company. They may be referred to as “relief” or “hardship” programs. I would recommend that you have a pen and paper handy to write down your options. It is important to ask the important questions of how will these arrangements affect your reporting to the bureaus. Will making these arrangements change the current contract? Request that the changes be sent to you in writing. Finally, be sure to take down the name of the agent that you spoke with and time of the call. This will be important in the event that you will need to use it in the future.
- Check Your Credit Card Statements. I will invite you to get a copy of your latest credit card statement. This includes the ones that you don’t use often and do not carry a balance on. You want to make sure that you are aware of the terms of your cards as well as the limits that you have. Lenders have started reducing limits on credit cards without warning in an effort to prevent possible defaults. This could potentially cause an decrease in your credit score as your available credit will be affected. In the event that you determine that this has in fact happened to you, reach out to your credit card company and request for the limit to be restored.
Founder of Allen Mays LLC
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