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A 6 Step Plan to Protect Your Credit
During this time, if you miss payments on any of your credit cards, go into default, or are late on paying your bills, your credit score will likely suffer. By protecting your credit, you will help to ensure that you have the option to access credit under fair terms so you can continue to meet your financial responsibilities with as little consequence as possible.
Step 1: Set up a directory on your computer
Set up a folder system on your computer where you can store all the documents that we're about to talk to you about. This directory system will be where you keep any information regarding your credit score: texts, emails, photos, screenshots, recordings, letters, etc. Having a set record system will allow you to defend your credit with greater ease.
Step 2: Reach out to your creditors
If you are going to need cash to survive during this time, you want to make sure that you're not sending that money out to make payments that can be deferred, and especially not if you can do so without interest. Reach out to your creditors and request extensions of your time to make payments. This will allow you to preserve your cash.
Before you ask for an extension, do research on your creditor. Most creditors have already initiated payment extension plans in response to the COVID-19 crisis. If you know what COVID-19 relief plans your creditors are offering, you'll be able to ask for that right away. You may want to ask your creditor for an even longer or repeat extension or a further reduction in the amount that is due.
Use this list to help find out information about your financial institution's response to Coronavirus.
Step 3: Verify the terms of your alternate payment plan
If you commit to an alternate arrangement, verify the new due date, the amount of all future payments, and how much interest will be charged. Most importantly, verify that there will be no adverse credit reporting during the time in which you are not expected to pay.
Step 4: Know who you are speaking to
Ask your representative for their name and their employee ID. This can help if you need to dispute any reporting errors that have occurred as a result of switching to an alternative payment plan.
Step 5: Obtain confirmation documents
Obtain written confirmation of the terms of your new payment plan. Ask the representative to send you a text, letter, or email confirming the date and amount of your next payment. Save this confirmation to your folder.
Step 6: Monitor your credit reports.
The last step is to monitor your credit reports. If your credit report reflects any errors, you have everything you need to send a dispute letter. Your dispute letter should state that you had an alternative arrangement with your creditor and any errors in your credit report related to this arrangement should be corrected. Attach the relevant confirmatory documents as proof. Save a copy of that dispute letter. Now, you should be protected from credit reporting errors.
During the Coronavirus outbreak, we will be in our virtual office and available to help consumers with their credit reporting and identity theft issues. If you have any questions about protecting your credit, we are ready to help consumers with remote access and a fully functional client portal.