Getting a loan after the Equifax hack
Your credit rating is incredibly important to your interest rate. If you want to save money on your loans, it pays to prepare ahead and do what you can to get your credit rating as high as possible. The Equifax breach – exposing millions of accounts to hackers, with the personal information obtained now spread worldwide – has made it more imperative than ever to take steps to protect your credit rating. Getting a loan after the Equifax hack has become potentially more tricky.
If you are getting a loan such as a mortgage, there are many things that are recommended to do before and also while you are in the mortgage process to avoid causing your credit score to go down and your rate to go up, for example, not loading up credit cards with debt and not opening any new credit card accounts. Now, you can add a new item to your to-do list, thanks to Equifax’s shoddy handling of 143 million customer accounts: freezing and putting a fraud alert on your credit accounts. Here, we walk you through exactly what you should do in order to protect your credit if you plan to get a new loan in the near future or further off.
Get a free copy of your credit report
This is the official site of the free credit report, as recommended by the FTC: https://www.annualcreditreport.com
Before you apply for any loans, you’ll want to take a look at your report and make sure there are no errors. If there are errors, you can try to correct them before you apply for a loan, potentially boosting your score and allowing you to get a better deal.
Put a freeze on your credit report
Don’t wait until you are about to apply for a loan, put a freeze on your credit report now. Here are detailed instructions from the FTC on what a freeze is and how to go about doing it. Just this week, there was a report of a woman who had had her identity stolen 15 times recently due to the Equifax breach. Don’t let it happen to you, or it could complicate or even kill your chances of getting a loan or mortgage, at least for the short term, until it is sorted out.
Put a fraud alert on your credit report
What’s the difference between a fraud alert and a freeze? You can read more about it here, but essentially, a fraud alert ensures that anyone checking your credit report has to go through extra steps to verify your identity such as calling you by phone.
Improve your credit report
Did you know that housing counselors are available to work with you on improving your credit score? You can find a counselor here at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) website. Counselors are free or sometimes charge a small fee. They can also help with other things, like understanding loan terms and helping you see if a loan is affordable for you or not. Counselors can help you identify items on your credit report that can be removed, and also let you know exactly how to go about removing them.
Taking these four steps in advance of getting a loan will make sure that your credit rating is as high as possible, and that it is protected, saving you both money and hassle.
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