The nation’s big three national credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — have begun offering free weekly credit reports so consumers can monitor their financial health and any changes brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
The companies said the weekly free reports will be available for the next year, beginning today, at AnnualCreditReport.com.
The announcement comes as worries grow about lasting hits to the economy as layoffs and furloughs rise in multiple industries and others take pay cuts. More than 22 million people nationally have sought unemployment insurance benefits in the past month.
In the past week, many of the nation’s largest banks have set aside tens of billions of dollars to cover credit defaults, such as those tied to small business loans and consumer credit card debt. A recent survey by Creditcards.com found 59% of U.S. consumers with a credit card owed money on their cards when the pandemic started.
“These are unprecedented times facing the world. People are feeling scared and uncertain about the future. To help play our part and reduce some of that anxiety, we are uniting as an industry to help people know the facts about their financial data,” the CEOs of the three credit agencies said in a news release.
Credit reports are a record of credit activity and payment history. Lenders use credit scores derived from the reports to evaluate the probability that an individual will repay loans in a timely manner.
In announcing the availability of free reports, the three companies advised consumers with financial challenges to contact their lenders.