The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced the three national consumer reporting agencies will extend weekly access to consumers to monitor their credit report for free until April 20, 2022. Under federal law, consumers are normally permitted one free credit report every 12 months from each consumer reporting agency.
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has had an impact on the financial lives of many Americans, and free weekly access to credit reports is intended to aid in the management of each consumer’s financial situation. TransUnion released a report on March 16 titled “The COVD-19 Pandemic’s Financial Impact on US Consumers: Consumer Pulse.” According to that report, “[t]hirty-eight percent of consumers currently report a decrease in household income due to COVID-19, a 15-point decrease since March 2020. Reduced works hours and job loss continue to be the primary drivers.” In addition, the report also highlighted gender disparities and the impact of COVID-19. “Women whose income is currently decreased are more likely to say their finances are worse than planned (58% vs. 34% of men).” Women also reported a decrease in income generating opportunities as compared to men.
In a joint statement, the CEOs of the three national consumer reporting agencies said, “Access to financial information and records on a more frequent basis helps people plan for their future while also taking care of the present during these challenging times. We strive to make credit more accessible and available to people every day and we hope continuing to make free credit reports available each week is helpful to consumers.”