- Americans can access free weekly credit reports at AnnualCreditReport.com during the pandemic.
- The free reports started in April 2020, and will continue through April 2022.
- Checking your credit report can help you know your score, and spot and correct any errors quickly.
- Try Experian Boost for free to improve your credit score »
With the coronavirus pandemic — and its economic impact — approaching the one-year mark, viewing your credit report has never been more important.
Credit reports list all open accounts, inquiries from credit applications, payment history, and any outstanding payments in collections. Three credit bureaus collect this data — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — and typically Americans can only access their credit report for free once per year per bureau.
But since last April, the bureaus have allowed Americans check their credit report once per week. This expanded access has been extended through April 2022.
Report access is available starting immediately through AnnualCreditReport.com, the site established for this purpose by the FTC.
Checking your credit is a smart habit to get into
Equifax’s Beverly Anderson, the president of Global Consumer Solutions, previously told Insider that checking your credit reports for errors is critical right now, especially if you’re making payment arrangements with lenders.
“If payments are late or missed, as long as the consumer and the lender have made the accommodation, then the lender will report the account as being current,” she said, explaining a stipulation in the first COVID-19 relief bill, the CARES Act, to protect credit.
“It will take a moment to figure out how to execute against what’s been stipulated [by the CARES Act], so something’s bound to slip through the cracks,” Anderson said. The best way to make sure a mistake won’t affect your credit is to check your report often. Each credit bureau compiles its own report, so it’s possible you may spot an error (which you can dispute) on one, but not on the others.
Note that checking more often doesn’t hurt your credit: When you check your report yourself, it’s not considered a hard inquiry like a bank might make.
Even if you’re not planning to delay bills due to COVID-related unemployment, now is still a good time to check on your score. If you’re using more credit than usual, check to see if the higher balances are affecting your credit score. If you’re applying for new credit, like a personal loan or credit card, your credit report is equally important.
Source: Read Full Article