Credit Report Mistakes on the Rise During the Pandemic

Mistakes are an unfortunate, yet natural occurrence. For instance, you may have asked for a side of teriyaki sauce in your takeout order but instead got honey mustard. More often than not, that is an excusable mishap. Mistakes relating to your credit report, however, are inexcusable. A news segment featured on NBC Nightly News revealed a steep increase in complaints filed for credit report errors. In 2019, there were 90,712 complaints. In 2020, an astounding 196,073 complaints were filed, more than double the total from 2019. Error-ridden credit reports exhibit some of the following mistakes:

 

  • Incorrectly reported late payments when individuals qualified for up to six months late through the CARES Act.
  • Loans counted twice against the individual 
  • Other people’s information may appear on the individual’s credit report
  • Fraud-related errors

 

To get access to your credit report, visit annualcreditreport.com. Pay attention to any comments in your credit report. If you spot an error in any element of your credit report, file a complaint/dispute with all three certified credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, Experian) through certified mail. If your request is denied, you may need to take legal action. 

 

If you would like to know the address to mail the disputes to each of the three credit bureaus, click here. To view a sample dispute letter, click here. Want to know how to ask for more details about a particular debt on your credit report? View a sample verification letter you can send to the debt collector, available here.

 

Hopefully your credit report isn’t subject to any mistakes. If it is, we hope these resources will be helpful! 

 

As a MoCaFi Mobility Bank Account holder, you can monitor VantageScore for free in the MoCaFi app.  Learn more at mocafi.com


Black Business Owners: You Can Still Thrive

In St. Louis City, white employed residents are 36% more likely than black employed residents to own their business (Source: St. Louis MO). It goes to show that St. Louis isn’t the most financially equitable city. In fact, their financial empowerment score based on several equity factors (like homeownership and median household income between black and white residents) is 39.88 out of 100. The pandemic hasn’t helped much with financial equity. Despite this unfortunate-yet-honest depiction of St. Louis City’s financial inequities, several organizations in St. Louis are accepting the challenge of making the city a more financially equitable place. One organization in particular, Heartland St. Louis Black Chamber of Commerce, is providing resources to black owned businesses in St. Louis to continue to be successful, even in the midst of a pandemic. 

 

The Heartland St. Louis Black Chamber of Commerce (HSBCC) has a four-pronged strategy to usher in profits for black owned businesses during the pandemic:

  • Create an online marketplace where businesses can place products for customers to shop online 
  • Offer a virtual pop-up every Saturday for 3 hours so businesses can talk about what they are selling 
  • Provide a directory to the public if they want to support certain black-owned businesses 
  • Allow black owned businesses to barter their services with other organizations when financial resources are limited.  

 

HSBCC also recognizes the need to grow the pipeline of African-American business. So they help businesses formulate a capability statement and become more bankable. Bankable black owned businesses have more opportunities to attain capital, HSBCC believes. HSBCC helps businesses with paperwork in the event they request funds from banks. 

 

If you are a black business owner from St. Louis and are looking for ways to showcase your products, HSBCC is your place to go! If you do not live in St. Louis, do not fear. There are quite a number of black chambers of commerce nationwide that are around to support your business in staying afloat and thriving. The U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC) is a great resource and starting point for finding resources to help guide you.