A good credit score is necessary for qualifying for low- interest rates on loans and earning credit card rewards. More importantly, it can also help you buy a car, house, or even when applying for jobs. Thus, it is only wise to keep your credit score as healthy as possible.
However, since the world is currently facing a crisis wherein many people are left suffering financially, it might be a struggle to keep up with your bills, resulting in stress. It would be best if you know what to do and how to handle your finances well amidst the pandemic the world is facing.
Don’t Stress About Your Credit Score
According to Ms. Chi Chi Wu, a staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC), you shouldn’t worry too much about your credit score during the pandemic, especially if you recently lost your job and are struggling financially. Aside from looking up to see what your credit report says, you should take the advice from notable advisors.
Atty. Wu says to focus on meeting your basic needs first. Wu also added that if you own a home or a car, you should pay off your mortgage or car loan first. By doing so, you are lessening your problems by not neglecting your debt.
The statement is supported by Kate Bulger, the director of business development at Money Management International. She advised that people should only be mindful of the credit score. However, Ms. Bulger also added that it shouldn’t be your number one priority right now. Instead, you should reduce unnecessary expenses and contact your creditors for missed payments.
Keep an Eye on Your Credit Report
There are credit reporting agencies that allow you to check your credit report every week for free. Thus, use it to your advantage and check your credit report often to protect your score. Doing so is vital to your financial survival, so make sure that you are aware of all your creditors and have a clear view of your credit status.
Prioritize Debt Payments
Due to the ongoing situation, wherein many are unemployed, and your income continues to take a hit, your mind might wander off immediately to your debts. Many people think that a 40 dollars minimum payment on a credit card is more reasonable than paying a thousand dollar mortgage bill.
Although that kind of mindset is not uncommon during this crisis, Wu advised that you organize your debt payments. The NCLC staff attorney stated that you should never prioritize paying smaller and low priority debts than your high-priority debts.
She also added that if you think you are in trouble with your high-priority bills, such as mortgages, you better call your lenders and discuss what you can do about it for the time being.
Lessen Unnecessary Expenses
During a financial crisis, you must be on top of your income and expenses tracking. To keep your finances in check, make sure to make a budget for your utilities and necessities. It will be best for you if you stay out of buying unnecessary items.
Taking down notes or using tools for money tracking would do you good. By doing so, you will be able to remember where your money went or if there is a pending debt that you need to pay this month. Making an expense tracking habit will immensely help you decide which of your debt payments should be paid first, and which one is the least priority.
Seek Financial Help
If you find it challenging to meet your needs and pay at least your minimum payments, fret not. Breathe in and out, and make a call to your lender or credit card issuer to request a forbearance.
Forbearance is an exclusive agreement, which is a temporary relief, such as waived fees and lowered interest rates. This agreement could also fall into a payment plan, whichever suits you best.
You do not need to excessively worry about seeking financial help since many credit card issuers are offering financial assistance, like forbearance or deferment. However, keep in mind that the said financial help accrue interest on your unpaid balance, so factor it into the equation and consider your credit utilization rate.
Know Ways to Boost Your Credit Score
Being informed about ways to boost your score is an advantage that you want to take. Thus, make sure to know everything about your credit rating agency. Some agencies have programs to help you boost your credit score by giving you credit for bills that are not typically included in a report, such as utilities or mobile phones.
You can keep your credit score in check despite the pandemic by keeping an eye on the factors that affect your finances. This way, you wouldn’t have to worry about your financial status constantly.