(WXYZ) — At the onset of the pandemic, the federal government offered a lifeline of sorts.
Companies that offer federally-backed loans, including student loans and mortgages, along with some credit cards and car loans, offered payment deferrals to some consumers who were struggling to make ends meet and there would be no impact on their credit score.
But instead of listing accounts as current, some companies reported those deferred payments as late, an error that can have a lasting impact on your credit.
"Even a small error on your credit report can have a huge impact on your credit score," Consumer Reports investigative reporter Lisa Gill said. "And in terms of trying to get credit cards, mortgage, or even a student loan, that can be the difference between getting a good rate, a bad rate, or no loan at all.”
Credit reporting errors are common; one study found that one in four people has at least one error on his or her reports, and complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau about credit report errors have reached record levels.
“This is a problem that existed long before the pandemic, but it’s an even bigger deal today because so many people have been affected by the crisis," Gill said.
So, what can you do?
Visit annualcreditreport.com to get your credit report from all three credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and Transunion. Then, if you find an error, dispute it with each credit bureau. Do it in writing and send your letter and any supporting documents using certified mail.