Concerned about your credit because you've been impacted by the government shutdown?

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Learn what you can do to help protect your credit.

The government shutdown has impacted hundreds of thousands of federal employees and federal contractors. If you’re having trouble making payments on your bills or loans due to the shutdown, first contact your lenders to explain your situation. You can find contact information for these lenders on your most recent bill or on your credit report.

If you are affected by the government shutdown and are concerned about how late or missed bill payments may impact your credit, TransUnion is here to help. Please see below for some answers to specific questions you may have.

Contact us at our dedicated government shutdown phone line, 1 (844) 253-1943, if you would like to speak to someone directly.

  1. What is TransUnion doing to help workers affected by the government shutdown?

    We know this is a stressful time and we want to help. That is why TransUnion is offering a free subscription to myTrueIdentity. With myTrueIdentity, you will receive: credit monitoring and alerts, TransUnion credit report, credit lock, credit score (Vantage Score 3.0) and score trending. These tools will help you keep track of any changes to your credit information.

  2. How long is the free subscription good for? How do I redeem it?

    The free subscription is good for 1 year, after activation. Simply go to myTrueIdentity and use the activation code: FBNHSWGKVYLC. Once you are enrolled, you will be able to use myTrueIdentity for 1 year, free of charge. Use of this code is limited to federal employees and federal contractors impacted by the government shutdown.

  3. Why should I check my credit report if I’m affected by the government shutdown?

    If you are affected by the shutdown, it may be a good idea to check your credit report to make sure all your account information is correct. This way, if you contact your lenders to discuss your financial situation and/or account, they will have correct data.

  4. What should I ask/tell my lenders if I am unable to make a payment?

    We know this situation isn’t easy. If you can’t make a payment on time, contact your lender and explain your circumstances. You can ask whether they are offering assistance to their customers affected by the government shutdown.

    The American Bankers Association and Credit Union National Association have published lists of banks and credit unions that have publicly indicated they are offering help to people impacted by the shutdown. This list may not be comprehensive, and we encourage you to reach out to your specific lenders to understand if any assistance might be available to you.

    These questions might help you in your conversation with your creditors:

    • Does your company offer a forbearance/hardship program?
    • What are the criteria to apply for forbearance or hardship?
    • Is there an option to make partial payments during the government shutdown?
    • What information do you need in order for me to apply for forbearance/hardship?
    • Is there a difference between forbearance, deferral or hardship?
    • How long does it take for a forbearance/hardship to take effect? How long is it in effect?  Do I have to follow-up each month during the shutdown?
    • Will fees (i.e. late, overdraft) be assessed while I’m in forbearance/hardship?
    • How is interest being calculated while I’m in forbearance/hardship?
    • How is my account reported to the credit bureaus while I’m in forbearance/hardship?
    • How do I ‘catch-up’ on payments after the forbearance/hardship ends?

     

  5. How is my credit score affected if I can’t pay my bills as a result of the government shutdown?

    Credit reports and scores are based on data provided by credit lenders. The Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA), which represents credit reporting agencies nationally, has provided guidance to lenders to suggest reporting late payments as in forbearance or deferred to help give people a break on their credit during this difficult time. That said, it is up to each lender to decide how they choose to report accounts to credit reporting agencies.

    When a lender reports an account as in forbearance to TransUnion, it can help to minimize the impact to your credit score and keep your accounts in good standing during the forbearance period, as long as you didn’t have late or missed payments already.

  6. What does having an account in forbearance mean?

    Having an account in forbearance usually means your lender has agreed that you can temporarily stop making payments on that account for a certain amount of time.

  7. Do all lenders offer hardship/forbearance options?

    You will need to contact your specific lenders to find out. You will most likely find their contact information on your latest statement, or on your credit report.

  8. How are hardship/forbearance accounts reported to the credit reporting agencies? How will this show up on my credit report?

    The Consumer Data Industry Association, which represents credit reporting agencies, has provided guidelines to lenders on how to report accounts in forbearance or where payments have been deferred. It is up to lenders, though, to decide how they’re going to report accounts to credit reporting agencies.

  9. What is the difference between a deferral and forbearance? Is one better than the other?

    Typically, an account in forbearance will not accrue interest. A deferred account will accrue interest. You can speak to your lender to see if they offer these options.

  10. Can I open a dispute/add a consumer statement to my file?

    Yes, you can open a dispute or add a consumer statement to your file as a result of the shutdown. Visit www.transunion.com/disputeonline to begin this process.

  11. How will late or missed payments affect my credit score?

    Late or missed payments may impact your credit score, as scores are based on data provided by credit lenders. We recommend you contact your lenders to ask whether they might have a hardship or forbearance plan if you have concerns about being able to pay your bills.

  12. If I have agreed with my lender that I can have a delayed or deferred payment, how does that show up on my credit report?

    Typically, there will be a comment that says “Payment Deferred” under the Remarks field on your credit report.

  13. What will the impact be of a deferred payment being reported on my credit report?

    Having an account marked as “Payment Deferred” will not affect your Vantage Score 3.0 in and of itself. It may affect your other credit scores, and other factors could still affect your credit score while an account is in forbearance.

  14. Do different loans affect my credit score or credit report differently?

    They might. We recommend contacting your lenders to ask about your specific loan/account.

  15. Can my credit score still go down if my account(s) is reported by the lender as in forbearance?

    It could – if you made a late payment(s) or missed a payment(s) before your account(s) were in forbearance, that would still be reported and potentially have a negative impact on your credit score. Your score could also be impacted by increasing your balance on credit cards or other loan accounts, or by opening new credit accounts.

  16. When will a late or missed payment be reported on my credit report?

    Late or missed payments are reported by your lenders to the credit reporting agencies, and the timing of reporting varies by lender: some may report late payments immediately, and others may wait up to 30 days. We recommend contacting your lender directly to ask about when late or missed payments are reported to credit reporting agencies.

  17. Are there certain account payments I should prioritize over others?

    As each person has a unique situation, we can’t provide specific recommendations on payment prioritization or how this might affect your credit score. We recommend you contact your lenders to ask whether they might have a hardship or forbearance plan if you have concerns about being able to pay your bills.

  18. Where can I obtain my credit report to see what’s been reported by my lenders?

    You can view your credit report by signing up for myTrueIdentity. myTrueIdentity is free for workers affected by the government shutdown for 1 year. Simply go to myTrueIdentity and use the Activation Code: FBNHSWGKVYLC. Use of this code is limited to federal employees and federal contractors impacted by the government shutdown.

  19. Can I speak to someone about the impact of the government shutdown on my credit?

    Yes — TransUnion has created a dedicated phone line, 1 (844) 253-1943, to assist you if you’ve been impacted by the government shutdown.