Are you employed by the federal government, and were you impacted by the government partial shutdown? If so, Equifax is providing a free credit report service for you, allowing you to access your Equifax credit report free – in addition to the free credit report you’re entitled to every 12 months by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com.
From Dec. 22, 2018 through Jan. 25, 2019, nearly 800,000 federal government employees and contractors did not receive their paychecks on time.
“While the government has re-opened, consumers may be just starting to see the effects a missed or late payment has on their credit history,” said Mark Begor, CEO of Equifax.
“We recognize the stress this situation may have caused for so many, and we are eager to assist furloughed federal employees, contractors, their families and communities during an extremely challenging time.
“This issue remains an important one to our entire company, and we believe providing secure access to a credit report at no charge for those consumers impacted by this situation will provide some assistance,” Begor said.
You can access the free credit report service here. You won’t be required to provide a credit card. The service is available for 90 days; for the shutdown ending Jan. 25, 2019, the service will be available through April 25.
Equifax is also providing educational information and answers to frequently asked questions regarding the federal government partial shutdown. Click here for more information.
If you have been impacted by the partial shutdown, an important step to take is contacting the companies with whom you have financial commitments so that you can make them aware of your situation. This includes banks, credit unions and financial institutions, but also your landlord, utility and telecommunications providers.
Some financial institutions have suspended late payments, adjusted fees, increased credit lines, offered repayment plans, provided loan modifications, or forbearance programs. Some utility companies have also offered to help consumers who have been impacted.
Forbearance is an important tool for consumers to discuss with their lenders as it is a period of time during repayment in which a borrower is permitted to temporarily postpone making regular monthly payments. The debt is not forgiven, but regular payments are suspended until a later time. A forbearance agreement is most commonly applied to mortgages and student loans. However, forbearance is applicable to any type of loan. The consumer may be making reduced payments, interest-only payments or no payments.
As those conversations are taking place, it’s important to review your credit reports to make sure the information is accurate and complete. Reviewing your credit report can ensure that any recent payment history accurately reflects any arrangements you’ve made with lenders or other companies with whom you do business. This information can be found in the balance and payment sections of your credit report.