Protecting Your Credit During the COVID-19 Crisis

You can get help with your debt without hurting your credit score:

A new federal law, the CARES Act, protects consumers from incurring harm to their credit score as a result of obtaining relief from their creditors during the COVID-19 crisis. The law provides that if you are affected by the COVID-19 crisis and request a forbearance or other modification of your loan, and your account was in good standing, you will not suffer harm to your credit during the period that you are receiving the accommodation.

Who is protected from negative credit reporting:

Borrowers who receive an accommodation because they are affected by the COVID-19 crisis and whose accounts were in "current" status prior to receiving an accommodation are protected from negative credit reporting on that account during the period of the accommodation. However, borrowers whose account was charged-off or that was in "delinquent" status prior to the granting of the accommodation are not eligible for this protection. The protection applies to mortgages, student loans, as well as other types of loans.

What should I do if a furnisher reports negative information about my account while I am receiving an accommodation?

If you discover that a company has reported negative information about your account while you are receiving an accommodation, you have the right to dispute the negative information with the furnisher of the information and/or with the credit reporting agency. If you are unable to resolve the issue through the dispute process, you should file a complaint with the Office of the New York State Attorney General.

You can request a free credit report from each of the three national credit reporting agencies to see if there is any erroneous information on your credit report. You have a right under federal law to one free credit report each year from each of the credit reporting agencies. In addition, the three national credit reporting agencies recently announced that they will be making free credit reports available on a weekly basis until April 2021.

To request a free credit report, visit Annual Credit Report or call (877)-322-8228. You can also request a free report on the websites of the three national credit reporting agencies, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. However, watch out for websites that claim to offer "free" credit reports, but actually require you to subscribe to a fee-based services in order to obtain the credit report.