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Amid COVID-19, credit reports are free every week

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DISCLAIMER: As the COVID-19 public health situation evolves, new regulations are being continually issued. This page/story/information may not include the most recent information.By WHSV newsroom | May 19, 2020 at 1:55 PM EDT – Updated May 19 at 3:30 PM

WASHINGTON (WHSV) — Many people are facing difficult financial times due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To gauge the effect the situation may be having on their finances, many people may turn to credit reports.

In light of that, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), all three national credit reporting agencies all offering weekly access to credit report monitoring for free.

Your credit report is a helpful tool to manage your financial data, with information about your credit history and the payment history that lenders, creditors, and other businesses rely on when deciding to offer you loans or credit.

Normally, though, accessing credit reports often will cost you. But right now, due to the coronavirus pandemic, everyone is eligible to get free, weekly credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and Transunion.

To get your free credit reports, the FTC says you can go to annualcreditreport.com.

Each of three national credit reporting agencies has said they’re making reports free for the next year.

If you’re one of the many Americans struggling to pay your bills right now because of COVID-19, the FTC offers these tips:

• Contact the companies you owe money to. Ask if they can postpone your payment, put you on a payment plan, or give you a temporary forbearance.• Check your credit report regularly to make sure it’s correct — especially any new payment arrangements or temporary forbearance. The recently passed CARES Act generally requires your creditors to report these accounts as current.• Fix any errors or mistakes that you spot on your credit report. Notify the credit reporting agencies directly. You can find out more by reading Disputing Errors on Credit Reports.• Find more advice and tips on handling the financial impact of the Coronavirus, and subscribe to the FTC’s Consumer Alerts.

You can find more advice on handling the financial impact of COVID-19 here.

Copyright 2020 WHSV. All rights reserved.

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Michigan license number:   DM-0016282 Available to the public and licensed in Michigan.

Section 13(1)  When a licensee establishes a debt management plan for a debtor, the licensee may charge and receive an initial fee of $50.00

Section 13(2)  A licensee shall attempt to obtain consent to participate in a debt management plan from at least 51%, in number or dollar amount, of the debtor’s creditors within 90 days after establishing the debt management plan. If the required consent is not actually received by the licensee, the licensee shall provide notice to the debtor of the lack of required consent and the debtor may, at its option, close the account. If the debtor decides to close the account, any unexpended funds shall be returned to the debtor or disbursed as directed by the debtor.

Sec. 14. (1) A contract between a licensee and debtor shall include all of the following:

(a) Each creditor to which payments will be made and the amount owed each creditor. A licensee may rely on records of the debtor and other information available to it to determine the amount owed to a creditor.

(b) The total amount of the licensee’s charges.

(c) The beginning and termination dates of the contract.

(d) The principal amount and approximate interest charges of the debtor’s obligations to be paid under the debt management plan.

(e) The name and address of the licensee and of the debtor.

(f) Any other provisions or disclosures that the director determines are necessary for the protection of the debtor and the proper conduct of business by a licensee.

Sec. 18. (1) In addition to the fee described in section 13(1), a licensee may charge a reasonable fee for providing debt management services under a debt management plan. The fee under this subsection shall not exceed 15% of the amount of the debt to be liquidated during the express term of the plan.

(2) A licensee may offer a debtor the option to purchase credit reports or educational materials and products, and charge a fee to the debtor if the debtor elects to purchase any of those items from the licensee.  Fees charged under this subsection are not subject to the 15% limitation on fees described in subsection (1).

(3) Except for a cancellation described in subsection (4), in the event of cancellation of or default in the performance of the contract by the debtor before its successful completion, a licensee may collect $25.00 in addition to any fees and charges of the licensee previously received by the licensee. This $25.00 fee is not subject to the 15% limitation on fees and charges under subsection (1).

(4) A contract is in effect when it is signed by the licensee and the debtor and the debtor has made a payment of any amount to the licensee. The debtor has the right to cancel the contract until 12 midnight of the third business day after the first day the contract is in effect by delivering written notice of cancellation to the licensee. A cancellation described in this section is not subject to, and a licensee shall not collect, the fee described in subsection (3).

(5) If a debtor fails to make a payment of any amount to a licensee within 60 days after the date a payment is due under a contract, the licensee may, in its discretion, cancel the debt management contract if it determines that the plan is no longer suitable for the debtor, the debtor fails to affirmatively communicate to the licensee the debtor’s desire to continue the plan, or the creditors of the debtor refuse to continue accepting payments under the plan.

(6) A licensee shall not contract for, receive, or charge a debtor an amount greater than authorized by this act. A person that violates this subsection, except as the result of an inadvertent clerical or computer error, shall return to the debtor the amount of the payments received from or on behalf of the debtor and not distributed to creditors, and, as a penalty, an amount equal to the amount overcharged.

530 W Allegan Street, 7th Floor
Lansing, MI  48909-7720
877-999-6442

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