Special Guest Editorial article “7 Best Practices for Credit Reporting & Disputes in COVID 19” for insideARM by Bridgeforce Managing Partner, Michelle Macartney.
Make sure your customers don’t wind up with credit report problems during the pandemic and you remain compliant with credit bureau reporting protections. Use these top 7 operational tips and best practices from Bridgeforce for credit reporting and disputes handling under the CARES Act and recent CDIA guidance. Here are the key elements you need to know for credit reporting in COVID-19.
- Define “use cases” for each accommodation plan about exactly how you are furnishing account data and create a step-by-step logic document that addresses each affected field in the Metro 2® file.
- Proactively communicate with borrowers and advise clearly on how credit bureau reporting will be impacted, including the time lag between the start of the accommodation and when the borrower’s credit bureau file will be updated. Communicating this clearly up front could ultimately decrease disputes, especially now that consumers are able to check their credit reports weekly through April 2021.
- Establish strong controls and testing to validate the accuracy of your furnishing data both pre-transmission and post-transmission. Automated testing of your Metro 2® files with a tool such as the Data Quality Scanner® Solution will enable comprehensive and rapid review of both production and test Metro 2®files.
- Validate how your data was interpreted and posted to consumer credit reporting files accessing tools from the National CRAs to examine your posted trade lines.
- Determine how accounts should be reported after the accommodation period by repeating Step 1 and be prepared to continue Steps 3 and 4 to validate accuracy of updated furnishing.
- Consider how to receive direct disputes via digital channels and provide status updates within the same channels to drive down call volume and help consumers feel more informed and in control.
In anticipation of increased dispute volumes from consumers frequently checking their credit reports, implement analytics that can help you aggregate the duplicates to work as a case and drive up efficiency.