Credit monitoring key during pandemic, experts say

Investigators

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – On top of protecting from the coronavirus, people during the pandemic also need to protect their credit. There are issues that could cause a person’s credit score to tank during the pandemic.

The primary concern is with credit cards.

To minimize the impact on credit score, be aware that running up a credit card can lower a person’s credit score. Using more than 30% of available credit can lower the score.

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Since mistakes can be made, people need to make sure things are being reported accurately. Errors should be disputed online for the fastest results.

Some lenders are allowing customers to put off payments during the pandemic.

Alyssa Parker with the Better Business Bureau said people who defer payments and enter into an agreement with a lender won’t have their credit effected if they adhere to the agreement.

Credit bureaus have modified their rules to allow more free credit checks, meaning people can and should check their scores more often during the pandemic.

“Because of this pandemic you can do that on a weekly basis,” Parker said.

The BBB’s scam tracker has seen a huge uptick in scams related to COVID-19. They include ones that involve phony debt collections. Those scams can be avoided by keeping up with debts.

“Know what you owe. Know who you owe it to,” Parker said. “That way if random companies or people you are not sure of are calling and demanding money, you know you don’t owe that person anything.”

Don’t just rely on checking with one credit service.

Experts believe the financial impact of the pandemic will last a long time — perhaps even several years — so it’s important to stay on top of credit reports now and moving forward.

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