Congress passed a bill called the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, which is commonly referred to as CARES. The bill aims to provide relief and financial support to small businesses and individuals who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Most people have seen the impact of CARES by accepting some of the benefits of CARES, such as a $1,200 stimulus check, extended unemployment benefits, student loan payment relief, mortgage payment relief, access to food, etc.
Others have asked what impact the pandemic and CARES might have on their credit scores.
How does the CARES Act affect your credit score?
The biggest impact is that the CARES Act provides consumer credit reporting agencies with guidelines outlined in the Act. The guidelines attempt to limit the long-term impact of people in financial difficulties. By providing protection, the bill can prevent negative reports from showing up on your credit report.
How does the CARES Act protect your credit score?
Generally, if you delay or miss a payment, such as a credit card payment, this will lower your credit score. According to the CARES Act, if your financial situation is affected by the pandemic, you can reach an agreement with creditors to update or change your payment terms, which may include temporarily skipping or reducing payments. As long as you comply with the new terms, you can keep your account up-to-date without any damaging effects on your credit score.
However, you must contact your creditor, landlord or any other financial institution to reach an agreement. Each lender may have different terms, so it is important to contact all creditors whose terms you wish to change. If the creditors agree to the new terms, they should provide a new agreement for your records.
An example might be that your landlord agrees to postpone your rent for 2 months, but your lease will be extended by these two months. If this is a credit card debt, the company may agree that you do not need to pay any additional interest or fines within two months, but you need to restart the payment before the specified date.
Are you eligible for credit protection under the CARES Act?
If most of the creditors have creditor accounts that report their information to the main credit bureau, they are eligible for credit protection under the CARES Act. However, if you wait for negative or default reports in your credit report before contacting the creditor, it will be difficult for you to delete these negative reports.
According to the law, you must reach an agreement with each creditor on any outstanding payments in the plan. It is important to note that certain federal programs, such as university tuition, have postponed the payment terms in the CARES Act. The same goes for mortgages backed by the federal government.
Don’t be afraid to contact any creditors directly. They are responding to many requests received, and most of them have already made offers that they are willing to provide.
Will this affect your credit score in the future?
We don’t know how long the credit reporting restrictions/changes under the CARES Act will take effect. As mentioned earlier, the key is to contact your creditors and find out what they can do to help you reduce or stop payments in a short period of time until you return to work. If you reach an agreement with the creditor, it will not affect your credit score in the future.
Do you have old debts from before the pandemic? If so, you must realize that you are still responsible for these debts. The CARES Act does not deal with previous debts or late payments. Using your money wisely and paying small amounts for all debts (especially pre-pandemic debts), you can reduce or eliminate new negative credit reports. You should still try to pay if possible.
Financial resources to help you
In addition to the resources and relief programs of the CARES Act, there are many state and local services that usually do not charge you. They can help you provide advice on consolidating debt, setting up a budget, financial planning, work history, etc. on.
Check your state and city website, or search online for free resources about financial plans, budgets, and more. There are also many great videos on YouTube that provide free advice on a wide range of financial and personal budget topics.
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