You Ask, Equifax Answers: Does Losing Your Job Affect Your Credit Scores?
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- Falling behind on credit card or loan payments affects your credit history.
- The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) prohibits potential employers from pulling your credit reports without your written consent.
- Losing your job does not impact your credit scores, but falling behind on payments will be reflected in your credit scores.
Question: I was laid off, but I intend to return to work. Will losing my job affect my credit scores and report?
Simply losing your job shouldn't affect your credit scores and report. But it is possible that your credit history could be affected if you fall behind on credit card or loan payments.
If you're concerned that you may not be able to keep up with debt payments, contact your lenders immediately. They may be flexible with payment plans and allow you to pay less monthly until you have a new job.
It's important to check your credit reports regularly to make sure they accurately reflect any agreements you've made with your lenders. Other factors such as opening new lines of credit and paying your bills late by 30 days or more can hurt your credit scores. A free monthly VantageScore® 3.0 credit score based on Equifax data and Equifax credit report are available to you when you sign up for Equifax Core Credit™. A VantageScore is one of many types of credit scores.
Additionally, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act requires that lenders report that a borrower is current on their payments if that borrower was current when they sought an accommodation during the pandemic. In other words, if you and your lender agree to a modified payment plan in the wake of losing your job, that lender should not report any delinquency during the accommodation period. However, it's important to check your credit reports regularly to ensure that they accurately reflect any agreements you've made with your lenders related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Also remember that many other factors, including seeking new lines of credit and increased credit utilization, can impact your credit scores.
As you look for new job opportunities, you should know your rights when it comes to potential employers checking your credit reports. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) prohibits employers from checking your credit history without your written consent. They can, however, sometimes factor that information into their hiring decisions. A handful of states have implemented laws to prevent your credit history from being used against you in the job hunt, but many haven't. You can review your state's employment laws here.
While credit scores are not generally used to make hiring decisions, employers can see and be influenced by your credit history, which would include closed and open lines of credit, any foreclosures, student loans and other aspects of your financial behavior. Not every employer will check your credit history, but they are more likely to do so if you are applying for jobs that involve finance or financial transactions. Under the FCRA, if you are rejected for a job because of your credit history, you have a right to know which credit reports the employer used to make that decision. Again, it's a good idea to regularly check your credit reports regularly to see what potential employers might see as you're reentering the job market.
Losing your job will not negatively impact your credit scores, but there are related factors that might, such as subsequently falling behind on your debt payments. Although the best course of action is to make your payments on time, if you're unable to keep up, contact your lender to see what accommodation options are available.