Frequently accessing and monitoring your credit information is especially important when you’re having trouble paying your bills. If you’re among the millions who’re now getting a reduced income—or are out of work altogether—due to coronavirus (COVID-19), you should review your credit reports often so you can take steps to try to preserve your credit score.
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you get the right to receive a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) once every 12 months. But during the coronavirus national emergency, these companies are offering free weekly credit reports to consumers. To get your free reports, go to AnnualCreditReport.com, which is the government-authorized website for this purpose.
If you find incorrect or incomplete information in your reports—like if you make a repayment agreement with a creditor and that creditor illegally reports you as delinquent to the credit bureaus—you have the right to dispute it. So, get your reports regularly to check for accuracy. Also, you should confirm that all other information in your reports is correct and that any accurate negative data isn’t too old to be included. Making corrections and removing outdated negative information from your report can help your credit. You can also keep an eye out for identity theft.
And, to keep your credit as strong as possible, pay your bills on time and in full (if you can) and try to keep your credit utilization low. To learn about ways to deal with your debts and manage your credit curing the COVID-19 outbreak, read Coronavirus: Dealing With Debt.