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September 10, 2020

COVID-19 and Your Credit Score: What You Need to Know

If you’re experiencing financial turbulence due to the ongoing pandemic, you may be concerned about your credit and how it might be affected. Every credit score is determined by a few factors, including your payment history, how much you owe, how long you’ve had credit accounts, your credit diversity and the frequency of recently opened accounts. The good news is that there are steps you can take to minimize any negative impacts and even improve your score.

  • Create a budget. First things first, take a detailed look at your budget. If you’re in a tough spot financially, budgeting will help you create a plan for managing expenses, making timely payments and paying down any debt. Learn more about starting a budget and adapting your budget for a crisis.
  • Talk to your creditors and lenders. Ask if any assistance is available, such as payment plans, new due dates or payment deferments. For some of you, that’s us! Grow members can take a look at our financial assistance options available during COVID-19 and contact us if you need to talk about your unique financial situation. We’ll do our best to help you make it through.
  • Pay what you can. Late payments can show up on credit reports, so do your best to avoid them. If you don’t think you can pay your utility, cell phone, cable or other monthly bills, get in touch with your providers to see if they might offer flexible solutions during this time.
  • Check your credit frequently. Until April 2021, everyone is eligible for free weekly credit reports from each of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and Transunion. To get your free reports, go to AnnualCreditReport.com. Keeping a close watch on your credit will arm you with information and help you detect fraud or errors quickly.
  • Add a consumer statement to your credit reports. If needed, you can write a brief 100-word note on your credit reports to explain your situation. Though it doesn’t necessarily raise your score, it could help provide context for the future. For example, “Due to COVID-19, I’ve lost my job but am working with my credit card company to create a payment plan.”

Remember, your credit score is important, but not permanent. You can always work to improve it over time. Want to learn more about credit scores? Here’s some Credit Education just for you.


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