The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide credit reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to provide individuals with a free copy of their credit report, at their request, once every 12 months. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of March 2020 also gives consumers some credit protections. It dictates how companies that send data to the credit bureaus will report accounts for which consumers have payment accommodations in place. If a consumer has an accommodation, and they live up to their end of the deal, an account that had been current previously will continue to be reported that way for both account status and payment history, assuming compliance with the accommodation. A consumer can also ask lenders to add a code to their credit report to indicate that they were “affected by a natural or declared disaster.”
The Federal Trade Commission announced in May 2020 that an agreement has been reached with the nationwide credit reporting companies to allow for free, weekly credit reports, not just one free report per year. Given the increase in the number of scams and frauds that are accompanying the coronavirus pandemic (e.g., fraudulent unemployment compensation applications using hacked personal information), individuals should be more careful, and they can now make themselves better aware, by more frequently checking their credit histories at the official website noted below.
If you have any questions about the CARES Act, pandemic-related scams, or your credit report, contact our Milwaukee criminal defense lawyers at 414-271-1440.
Credit reports are now free, every week
May 18, 2020
by Cathlin Tully
Attorney, Division of Privacy and Identity Protection
Federal Trade Commission
If you’re feeling anxious about your financial health during these uncertain times, you’re not alone. That’s why the three national credit reporting agencies are giving people weekly access to monitor their credit report — for free.
This is some helpful news, because staying on top of your credit report is one important tool to help manage your financial data. Your credit report has information about your credit history and payment history — information that lenders, creditors, and other businesses use when giving you loans or credit.
Now it’s easier than ever to check your credit more often. That’s because everyone is eligible to get free weekly credit reports from the three national credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. To get your free reports, go to AnnualCreditReport.com. The credit reporting agencies are making these reports free for the next year.
If you’re one of the many Americans struggling to pay your bills right now because of the Coronavirus crisis, here’s what you can do:
- Contact the companies you owe money to. Ask if they can postpone your payment, put you on a payment plan, or give you a temporary forbearance.
- Check your credit report regularly to make sure it’s correct — especially any new payment arrangements or temporary forbearance. The recently passed CARES Act generally requires your creditors to report these accounts as current.
- Fix any errors or mistakes that you spot on your credit report. Notify the credit reporting agencies directly. You can find out more by reading Disputing Errors on Credit Reports.