Credit score

How can being away from work during the pandemic impact your credit score?

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Millions of people have been laid off or lost their jobs entirely because of the pandemic. This interruption of employment could ultimately have an impact on your credit score.

Just losing your job shouldn’t affect your credit score, Equifax experts say, but it’s possible your credit history could be affected if you fall behind on your payments, even during the pandemic and this was not your fault.

That’s why it’s important that if you’ve fallen behind on your payments, contact your lender. Many are flexible with payment plans right now, but don’t expect that flexibility to last forever.

According to Equifax, the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) requires lenders to report that a borrower is current with their payments if that borrower was current when they looked for housing during the pandemic.

It’s a good idea to check your credit report to make sure it accurately reflects all the agreements you have with lenders.

If you’re late, it’s not a good time to look for new lines of credit or start charging things. It sounds like a 22 snag because if you’re already behind, it might be tempting to start using credit accounts. But Equifax experts advise waiting if you can.

If you have lost your job and are looking for a new one, a new employer can check your credit, but they cannot do so without your written consent. Some states have created laws that prevent an employer from using your credit history in the hiring process, but Ohio is not one of them.