NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As the bills and the stress pile up during this public health emergency, financial experts are concerned thousands of Americans are also about to launch themselves into a credit crisis.
“They’re going to fail to make some payments coming up in the next month or two or longer than that, and those delinquencies are going to get reported to the big three credit reporting agencies,” said Paul Oster, president of Better Qualified. “Ultimately, it’s going to destroy their credit scores.”
Before speaking with Oster, CBS2’s Jessica Layton asked CBS2 viewers what questions they had about their financial health.
One question: “What if COVID-19 has me out of work right now and I can’t pay my bills?”
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“If you’re in that position, you don’t have the money to pay, you have to reach out to your creditors,” Oster said. “Reach out to them and let them know that you need one, two, three months deferred payments with no hit to your credit score.”
Another question: “Which bills should I pay first?”
Oster says anything that gets reported to the credit bureaus.
“So utilities I would put on the back burner for now, no pun intended. But your credit cards, your mortgage, your car payments, those are the kinds of things that get reported to the credit bureaus as soon as you go 30 days late,” Oster said.
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Another question: “Are the banks being forgiving on mortgage payments right now?”
“As of right now, Bank of America is the only bank that I know of that has really stepped forward and said, look, we’re going to defer up to three months for mortgage payments. Other banks have said we are with you, we’re going to work through this together,” Oster said.
He says now is the time to check your credit report and make sure there aren’t any mistakes on it. He says the bottom line is we all have to be proactive with our bills. We can’t expect the government to bail us out.