Financially Prepare for COVID-19

Posted April 2nd, 2020

While social distancing and staying in quarantine is essential right now, it can cause some serious financial strain. Consumer Finance posted some steps you can take to financially prepare.

1. Contact your lenders and loan services

If you are unable to pay your bills on time, contact your lenders and loan services to let them know your situation. While being behind on payments can negatively impact your credit, most companies have payment options to help. Likewise, most credit unions are offering various options that may help, including free skip-a-pays, waived fees, and delayed payments.

When contacting lenders, be prepared to explain your situation, how much you can afford to pay, when you’re likely to be able to begin regular payments, and your income and expenses.

2. Work with housing and credit counselors to understand your options

If you’re feeling lost, turn to a professional. Housing counselors can help work with you when it comes to mortgage payments. Credit counselors are great at giving financial advice and getting you on track.

3. Contact debt collectors

If you currently have debt in collections, reach out to the collection agency. If you are willing to work with them and can offer some repayment or create a payment plan, they will most likely work with you.

4. Check your credit reports

Be sure to keep an eye on your credit report as you work with lenders and collections. These are unusual times and if you have a plan in place you want to be sure it is accurately reported.

5. Lost income

If you lose your income during these trying times, check with your state’s unemployment office or public health office. Keep an eye out for state and local government announcements as more plans are put in place to assist.

6. Be aware of scams

Unfortunately, this is a great time for scammers, who tend to prey on the vulnerable during times of emergency. Be cautious of texts, calls, emails, and social media posts that have information or products related to the Coronavirus. If you are unsure how to spot a scam, Google the information, ask your local health department, or just play it safe and assume it is.

7. Need more help

If you need more help, reach out to your local credit union. Here at DECU, we have extra staff on hand to assist members and answer questions. We are offering one free skip-a-pay, deferred loan payments, increased credit limits, waived ATM fees, and more. Explore all the ways we’re helping here and if you don’t see what you’re looking for, reach out to us. We’re here to help.

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