The coronavirus/Covid-19 epidemic has caused significant economic uncertainty, putting millions of Americans in financial distress and forcing them to cope with bills they were unprepared for, such as rent and insurance premiums.
A lot of people have lost their jobs, been furloughed, or had their pay cut because of Covid-19. For these people, lenders and creditors are offering a lot of different ways to repay debt.
One of your choices may be forbearance, which is an agreement with a lender or creditor that enables the borrower to delay or suspend loan payments for a set amount of time.
In this article, we will talk about how Covid-19 hardship forbearance may affect your credit score. Many people are struggling during the pandemic and have had to put their loans into forbearance. This means that they are not making payments on their loan for some time.
We will go through the ins and outs of forbearance and how it can benefit you or harm your credit score.
What happens if you have missed payments in your mortgage payments?
Missed payments can result in a tremendous drop in your credit score, resulting in increased late payments and fees.
Your lender will report your failure to pay your mortgage to the three main credit bureaus if you don’t make timely payments. Your credit score will be lowered as a result.
Also, a late charge will be assessed on the payment you failed to make. Late fees are usually charged after a seven- to 15-day grace period following the due date.
If you miss one mortgage payment, will you lose your financial footing?
On the bright side, failing to make a single mortgage payment seldom results in foreclosure. You usually have to fall at least three months behind and fail to communicate with your lender for this to happen.
Multiple missed payments might result in foreclosure, further damaging your credit. There can also be penalties or additional interest added to most mortgages.
What is forbearance in the US?
If you’re having trouble making your mortgage payments, you may stop or reduce them temporarily. This is called forbearance.
The forbearance period is a time in which your mortgage servicer or lender permits you to pause or lower your mortgage payments while you restore your finances.
What mortgage forbearance does NOT mean
Forbearance does not imply that your debts are forgiven or erased. You remain liable to pay any payments, which in most situations may be paid back gradually or when you refinance or sell your property.
Your loan servicer will contact you before the end of the forbearance to let you know how to repay the missed payment.
What is financial hardship in the US?
When the debtor’s current and projected income and liquid assets are insufficient to meet basic living expenses at present and anticipated ordinary intervals over the anticipated period of collection, hardship is assumed.
Financial hardship is an unfavorable event that has harmed your finances beyond your control and for which you may ask for suspended payments or reduced payments.
Layoff or a reduction in salary, significant sickness or injury, new or worsening disability, imprisonment, natural disaster, and long-distance job transfer are all examples of financial difficulties that a lender might consider making a repayment plan.
Will your credit scores be affected by forbearance?
You can’t just neglect a payment and expect no consequences without discussing your issue with your lender.
If you agree to forbearance with your lender, they may report it to the credit agencies. However, as long as you stick to the agreement and make all of your payments on time, your credit score will not be affected.
If you are having trouble making your payments on time, or if you think you might lose your home, one thing you can do is to ask for help. You can ask your lender to work with you, and they may be able to help you avoid late payments or foreclosure. This will help protect your credit score.
Before canceling any sort of loan, you’ll need to work out a bargain with your lender — otherwise, your credit score may be harmed.
What is the COVID forbearance plan?
If you have a federally backed mortgage and are having economic hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, you might be eligible for COVID hardship forbearance under the CARES ACT.
What are federally backed mortgages?
These mortgage loans include HUD/FHA, VA, USDA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac loans. They can enter loan forbearance programs by your loan servicer.
What if my mortgage payments are not federally backed?
Servicers may provide comparable forbearance choices for mortgages that are not federally guaranteed. It is possible to reach a forbearance agreement with your servicer.
If you are struggling to make your monthly mortgage payment, your servicer is required to discuss payment relief options with you, also known as loss mitigation options. This is regardless of whether or not your loan is federally backed.
There will be no more fees, penalties, or extra interest (beyond expected amounts) charged to your account as a result of this pandemic, and you do not need to submit any new documents to qualify. All you have to do is tell your servicer that you’re having difficulty with the financial situation due to a pandemic. It is improper for the mortgage company to charge you late fees and penalties if you have received a forbearance due to Covid-19.
Will Covid-19 count as forbearance?
The term “forbearance” is commonly linked to home mortgages, but any loan agreement you’ve signed up for can be accepted. There can be many forbearance options for a home loan that can avoid foreclosure actions.
Because of the massive and immediate economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, several creditors and lenders are providing unique debt repayment choices on many obligations. This includes mortgages, student loans, auto loans, credit card bills, utility bills, property taxes, and small business loans.
Depending on what agreements you reach with your creditors, they may agree to allow decreased or delayed payments for a specific time of up to 12 months. Paused payments or deferred payments until your forbearance period ends might not affect your payment history nor your credit report if you come to an agreement that is financial hardship-related.
Some companies may offer to reduce the interest rate on your debt. However, there are no specific federal guidelines that all companies must follow when it comes to forbearance agreements. You will have to request forbearance to learn what additional resources can your lender directly give to you for late payment.
Mortgage requirements for requesting forbearance plans due to Covid-19
The eligibility requirements for debt forbearance vary depending on the type of debt you have. Each lender and creditor has its program with its own set of rules.
For example, most mortgage forbearance programs require that you are experiencing a “financial hardship” due to the pandemic of Covid-19. This could be due to job loss, reduced hours, or illness.
You may be asked to provide documentation of your financial hardship, such as pay stubs, bank statements, or doctor’s notes.
Borrowers who have conventional mortgages guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, which underpin the majority of loans in the United States, or the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Federal Housing Administration (FHA), or USDA can get assistance as well as deferment and postponed payments options.
What if my loan is not federally backed up?
If your loan isn’t federally backed, you can still have a payment deferral. You will need to contact your mortgage servicer to learn if they provide any Covid-19 pandemic relief.
Check with your monthly statement or go to the website of your mortgage servicer for information on how to reach a customer service representative.
What if I don’t know if my mortgage is back up federally?
If you’re a homeowner who isn’t sure which corporation guarantees your mortgage, go to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s website for more information on Coronavirus/Covid-19 actions.
What are the drawbacks of Covid-19 loan forbearance?
Although forbearance can help you deal with your short-term money problems, it has some disadvantages. For example, if you use a forbearance period, your credit rating and credit scores could be affected.
You’re not receiving “free money” if you enter into a forbearance agreement for your mortgage loans. Depending on the repayment plan you choose with your lender or creditor, you may have to pay back the interest that accumulates during your approved deferral period, and late charges might still apply.
You will also have to repay the forbearance amount at the end of the forbearance, which may in itself cause a new hardship for you.
If that’s the case, then you need to make sure to seek a loan modification to account for the forbearance amount.
Notify your lender if you’ll still be charged late fees, when and how they will be levied, and how your forbearance agreement will be recorded with the national credit bureaus.
Covid-19 pandemic forbearance for mortgages
For those who are having trouble making mortgage payments, the federal government has announced a temporary nationwide moratorium on foreclosures and evictions. This has also expired.
People who have lost their jobs as a result of the Covid-19 epidemic can qualify for payments to be halted or reduced for up to 180 days, depending on their circumstances.
To qualify for this forbearance, you must contact your loan servicer and request it.
You can look up your loan on FannieMae.com and FreddieMac.com to see whether one of them purchased it from your original lender, or contact your mortgage servicer directly if you have questions about your payment status.
In addition, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have halted foreclosures and evictions during the Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic, so visit their websites for regularly updated information on how to get relief.
Covid-19 pandemic forbearance relief for credit cards
Every credit card company has different options and eligibility requirements for forbearance or payment deferrals on your credit card debt. If you are thinking or asking for payment forbearance for your credit card balances in a way that will not affect your credit reports, ask your servicer for their relief options.
To find out what alternatives are available and what you need to do to get assistance, go to the website of your credit card company. Even if yours doesn’t currently offer a solution that meets your needs, it may add new choices shortly, so keep an eye on updates.
Card issuers generally provide forbearance on a case-by-case basis, and they may not give all relief possibilities to everyone who qualifies.
Your credit card companies will have specific choices accessible to you based on how long you’ve been a cardholder, how serious you’ve been about making timely payments, and the amount of your outstanding credit card debt. So your credit history might help get you more options for monthly payments.